Big khat seizure has authorities purring

Authorities arrested three people at Athens International Airport late Monday after discovering they were carrying more than 16 kilos of the drug khat, police said yesterday. The three suspects – aged 19, 24 and 39 – were all Somalian nationals and flew into Athens from London. Police searched the Somalis after a tip-off and found 16.2 kilos of khat wrapped in banana leaves, which helps keep the drug moist, stowed in the their hand luggage. Khat, legal in some European countries, is a plant grown mostly in East Africa. Users chew it and experience a euphoric feeling which resembles the high after taking an amphetamine. Police said it is the fifth time they have caught smugglers bringing the drug into Greece. The khat was apparently headed for some of the city’s ethnic restaurants, to be passed off as «Arabic tea,» police added.

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