Officials intercepted five packages from Nairobi, Kenya, and were arrested at the Foreign Post Office in Chennai. The first package contained flower vases. Upon opening, 11 wooden vases wrapped in white foam film were found. Upon closer inspection of each vase, the officers found that it was sealed. While cutting the top, a pink polybag was found that had khat leaves hidden in it.
The other four packets contained “rosemary” and “dried spices”. Upon opening the package, a silver opaque poly bag was found, in which five pink poly bags with dried khat leaves were hidden. A total of 46.8 kg of khat leaves valued at 1.17 billion rupees were recovered and confiscated under the 1985 NDPS Act.
The customs officer said the arrested youth was an aerospace engineer who worked for a software company in the city.
Khat (Catha edulis), also known as Miraa, is a stimulant and is prohibited under the Addictive and Psychotropic Substances Act. Khat is mainly grown in East Africa and South Yemen.
In March 2020, customs confiscated 15.6 kg of khat leaves worth 40 lakh that had arrived at the FPO Chennai from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.