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Fairfax police seize record amount of khat after busted drug deal

An alert patrol officer in Fairfax County is responsible for what is believed to be the county’s largest-ever seizure of khat, an illegal drug popular in East Africa and along the Arabian Peninsula.

The officer noticed what appeared to be a drug sale in a parking lot along Columbia Pike in the Falls Church area on Saturday night and stopped two men allegedly involved in the transaction. The officer determined that one of the men was trying to sell khat to the other and found 21 pounds of the drug at the scene, police said.


Abdudelel, left, and Hersi. (Fairfax Police)

A subsequent search of one suspect’s home turned up another 111 pounds of khat, for a whopping total of 132 pounds of the flowering evergreen shrub, police said. All of it appeared destined for the area's illicit drug market, police said.

An amphetamine, khat is typically chewed like tobacco but can also be smoked or eaten. It is a Schedule I drug in the United States, which is the same category that includes PCP, Ecstasy, marijuana and LSD.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, khat is legal in much of Europe, East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where it is an established cultural tradition there. The DEA estimates that several million people use khat worldwide, adding that East African and Middle Eastern dealers are most often responsible for its importation into the United States.

Some estimates place khat's value at anywhere from $300 to $600 per kilogram (2.2 pounds), which would make the seizure in Fairfax County worth between $18,000 and $36,000. Police did not have an estimate for the sales price in this transaction.

Fairfax County police arrested Ahmed Omer Abdujelel, 45, of the 2800 block of Annandale Road, and charged him with distribution of a Schedule I drug and distribution near a recreation center. Police said they found the large stash of khat in Abdujelel's home.

They also arrested Ali Abdi Hersi, 47, of Northwest D.C., in the District and charged him with possession of a Schedule I drug.

-- Josh White

By Josh White  |  May 20, 2010; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Josh White , Narcotics  
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Comments

Why didn't any of the millions of law abiding, gun toting Virginians stop this crime like their supporters claim will happen to basically any crime that takes place in MD.

Posted by: smirkman | May 20, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Khat is legal in most of the world but the problem is that it is enjoyed by people different then us, so the police just use enforcement as a way to get at those people.

Posted by: MarilynManson | May 20, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

MarilynManson,
If khat is legal in most of the rest of the world then that's where these guys should be using and dealing it.
It's illegal here...which makes it a crime to be using or dealing it, not an excuse for the police to get at those who use it.
The sole purpose of police is to enforce laws and they're doing it.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | May 20, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

MarilynManson,
If khat is legal in most of the rest of the world then that's where these guys should be using and dealing it.
It's illegal here...which makes it a crime to be using or dealing it, not an excuse for the police to get at those who use it.
The sole purpose of police is to enforce laws and they're doing it.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | May 20, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse


"The sole purpose of police is to enforce laws and they're doing it."

Wow man, you're either a very naive and sheltered citizen or you're an officer of the law.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | May 20, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | May 20, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse


"The sole purpose of police is to enforce laws and they're doing it."

Wow man, you're either a very naive and sheltered citizen or you're an officer of the law.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | May 20, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

If it's the former, change your skin color for a day and let me know how you feel afterwards. If it's the latter, we all know your secrets, stop covering them up with your robot talk.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | May 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Bigfoot_has_a_posse,
I'm neither naive nor sheltered. The fact is these guys broke the law and got caught.
Laws are in place for a reason...to avoid chaos. You break the law you pay the price...see how that works?
It's called being responsible for one's actions. Not a very difficult concept to understand.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | May 20, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The law is in place because it is a plant used by Muslims. We don't want them in our country, so we ban their drug of choice. Just like Muslim countries ban alcohol (our drug of choice).

Posted by: Cznzy | May 20, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Dude on the left looks high right now...LOL

Can't argue with this one, culture aside. This ain't meth but it ain't St. John's Wort either. Just the rules of the game...

Posted by: kahlua87 | May 20, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Go arrest BP executives when they land at Ronald REagen Airport. BP’s CEO and cohorts should be immediately Arrested and Jailed without Bail. BP is Guilty of an Active Criminal Cover-up costing us Hundreds of Billions of Dollars.

Woods Hold Oceanographic Institute now estimates the Oil Leak to be over 100,000 barrels day, and that’s from only One of the Broken Pipe leaks.

100,000 barrels (4,200,000 Gallons) a Day @ 42 Gallons/Barrel; 30 Days = over 126,000,000 Gallons (126 Million Gallons).

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126975907

http://www.whoi.edu/

Posted by: liveride | May 20, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

BigDaddy651:
What if tomorrow the government made a cultural norm of yours or something you enjoy very much illegal. Would you be upset? I don't know your ethnicity, but I'm looking at this story from the perspective of a minority, and most of the drug laws we do have in this country were enacted for racialy motivated reasons. I think that there are much worse criminals in Northern VA to worry about. They dont look like the people pictured above. These criminals I speak of wear suits, and work in those tall buildings across the river from DC and out in Tysons. Just some food for thought.

Posted by: AdamAhmed | May 20, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

So, before we make something illegal, isn't there supposed to be some kind of MORAL justification for it?

This stuff is legal in most of the civilized world, including Europe. What's our beef with it?

America is quickly turning into the country where you get serious prison time for things that are completely legal in actual FREE countries.

Posted by: kcx7 | May 20, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The people who use khat come from the most god-awful regions of the world.

Posted by: kenk3 | May 20, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow a new weed where can we get some.

Heykcz7, I like your way of thinking - its legal in the "Actual Free Countries" now if they dont have any border jumpers that would be a perfect place...

Posted by: FrankMonzon | May 20, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Another stirring victory in the war on drugs. If this doesn't turn the tide, nothing will.

Posted by: jcriss01 | May 20, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Adam,
If this is legal and normal in the cultures where these individuals are from then they should probably have just stayed there.
You live here, you abide by OUR laws...not those of the country you came from. If you prefer those DON'T BOTHER COMING HERE!
If their country is so wonderful why didn't they stay?
None of my cultural norms are illegal...apparently their's were.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | May 20, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I for one was glad to see this. A somalian khat dealer made everyone's life in my apartment building miserable for over 4 years. Had crazy people coming round the apartment banging loudly, shouting arguing, trying to get that crap to chew on it then come back for more. It wasnt illegal in DC then so MPD couldnt do anything. He just said it wasnt illegal in somalia so he didnt feel he was breaking the law. I dont think half these people believe the laws in this country apply to them.

Posted by: madeinuk | May 20, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Seems like a wasteful law. Unnecessary, unjustified laws create contempt for the law. Plus they cost money and, in the case of the "drug war", create crime. You've read about Al Capone, haven't you? Well, we still have the equivalent.

Just because another country is worse than ours, doesn't mean we can't improve.

BigDaddy651:
Are you a driver? Do you ever speed?

I'm guessing some of your "cultural norms" regarding people of other ethnic backgrounds are VERY close to illegal, and would become so if you were in a position of power and acted on them. Or are you going to tell me that those laws are different somehow?

I'm guessing you haven't read much by, say, Thomas Jefferson and his pals. They had a distinctly different take on oppressive laws.

Posted by: lincolnr | May 20, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Yay! We get to house and feed more people for using or selling a PLANT!

Good use of our tax dollars!

End the miserable failure that is the 'War on Drugs.' Turns out America loses no matter who 'wins.'

Posted by: FredEvil | May 21, 2010 3:17 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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