Over 2,000 kg of 'khat' was seized by border services officers

Container of khat seized

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Metro Vancouver Marine Operations recently seized a container full of an illegal stimulant that was imported from Kenya.

On Oct. 4, CBSA’s Pacific Region Intelligence Section, with assistance from the Agency’s National Targeting Centre, identified a "container of interest and referred it for examination," explains a news release.

Imported from Kenya, the marine container was declared to contain "bags of tea leaves."

Border services officers from the Metro Vancouver Marine Operations examined the container using "a wide range of detection tools and technology." From the inspection, the officers noted "discrepancies in the packaging and the substance within the bags."

The officers found 152 bags that contained a "dried leafy substance" and sent them for analysis.

The analysis confirmed the substance as khat (Catha Edulis): a stimulant drug derived from a shrub and indigenous to East Africa and Southern Arabia.

In Canada, Khat and its derivatives are listed under Schedule IV of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Its active ingredients, cathine and cathinone, produce a stimulant effect similar to amphetamine when the green parts of the plant are ingested.

There are no accepted medical uses for khat.

The CBSA seized a total of 2,061 kg of khat.

“This substantial seizure of khat was the result of a collaborative effort involving officers from the Metro Vancouver Marine Operations, the Pacific Region Intelligence Section, and the National Targeting Centre," said Joseph Chayeski, Director, Metro Vancouver Operations Division, Pacific Region.

"It illustrates how thorough inspections of marine containers help to keep illicit and dangerous products out of our communities, which is a responsibility that we take very seriously.”

If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, please contact the CBSA Border Watch Toll-Free Line at 1-888-502-9060.

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