New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says 17 people have been charged with running a multi-million dollar traffic drug ring involving the stimulant drug, khat. Jillian Kitchener reports.
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Bags and bags of khat are presented to the media.
This, after authorities in New York bust a multi-million dollar international drug ring.
And criminal charges against 17 people, including; drug trafficking and possession, money laundering and conspiracy.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, SAYING:
"It was a sophisticated organization moving large quantities of the drug into the United States and moving large amounts of money, millions of dollars, out of the United States. We are alleging that the proceeds from the illegal sales of the drug were wired from one defendant, primarily in Minnesota, to another in Dubai. While khat is not well known outside of east Africa and the Middle East, it is found to be addictive, there's evidence linking the drug to liver damage, cardiac problems, insomnia, and it also exacerbates mental health problems."
Khat is grown and sold legally in much of eastern Africa where chewing the plant is an ancient social custom.
But it's considered a controlled substance in the United States.