Within the Seattle Maritime Port, a collaborative effort involving the US Homeland Security Agencies, Customs, Border Protection (CBP), and the US Coast Guard culminated in confiscating more than 20,000 pounds of dried khat with an approximate street value of $3.6 million.

An examination of a container that seemed to carry khat was held by US Customs and Border Protection authorities and the US Coast Guard at the Port of Seattle. It was confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that the samples were khat, and the container was forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture Laboratories and Scientific Services had been confirmed.

The investigation suggested the presence of cathinone, a chemical that is classified as a Schedule 1 restricted substance. When the leaves are newly harvested, khat is categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule I narcotic, the DEA’s most stringent classification for a controlled substance. In the US, both cathine and cathinone, two of khat’s primary components, are classified as chemicals subject to regulation.

Khat was discovered in a total of 623 different boxes by CBP officials, and its combined weight was about 20,215 pounds. According to the shipping documents, the consignment was supposed to include dried tea leaves from Kenya and was headed to Seattle. Instead, the khat was confiscated by CBP agents and will be stored appropriately until it is destroyed.