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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 — A Cook County Sheriff's Police Gang Investigation Team busted an overseas drug deal and seized 43 pounds of khat, a plant commonly used for narcotic purposes.

On November 14, the package was detained by Homeland Security at a location on the East Coast, en route from France. Its destination was an address on the 2600 block of West 15th Street in Chicago. Sheriff's Police took possession of the package on November 16 at O'Hare International Airport and found 43 pounds of khat with an estimated street value of nearly $20,000.

Khalif-MohamudAfter preparing a search warrant, undercover investigators delivered the package and the resident accepting the package was quickly taken into custody. The package was ultimately destined for a cab driver by the name of Hassan Khalif-Mohamud. Investigators delivered the package to Khalif-Mohamad at a downtown Chicago location, and took him into custody after he paid an undercover investigator $150 for delivering the package.

Khalif-Mohamud was held without bond for violating probation due to a 2010 charge for possession of a controlled substance. He is scheduled to appear in court on November 28 at the Skokie Courthouse.

This investigation was worked in conjunction with investigators from Homeland Security.

KhatKhat is a flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian-Peninsula. It produces amphetamine-like effects, including euphoria, increased alertness and energy, and hyperactivity. One may also feel relaxed and talkative. With use there will be elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, hyperthermia and increased respiration. The effects can last between 90 minutes and 3 hours. After-effects of khat use include lack of concentration, numbness and insomnia.

Khat abuse can lead to psychological dependence, behavioral changes and mental health issues. Individuals can also experience manic behavior with delusions, suicidal depression, anorexia, mouth disease and gastrointestinal system problems.

Most often the fresh leaves and shoots of the khat shrub are chewed and kept in the cheek then chewed intermittently until all the juices from the leaves are extracted. Dried khat can also be made into a tea or chewable paste.

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