Two suitcases filled with khat drug seized at Istanbul Atatürk Airport
Çetin Aydın – ISTANBUL
Law enforcement officials seized more than 34 kilograms of khat, a traditional African herbal stimulant, in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport on Jan. 2.
A passenger on his way to Istanbul from the Kenyan capital Nairobi was stopped for an inspection upon suspicion by narcotics officers.
As officers opened the two suitcases belonging to the 24-year-old passenger, 34 kilograms and 239 grams of khat were seized.
The passenger was detained and taken to the police station.
Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The plant (Catha edulis) contains two alkaloids, cathinone and cathine, which act as stimulants.
The green khat leaves are chewed and a small ball of partially chewed leaves are held against the inside of the cheek (similar to chewing tobacco).
Dried leaves can also be chewed this way, though they are less potent. Some khat users also smoke the drug, make it into tea or sprinkle it on food, according to information provided by LiveScience.
Istanbul police also detained a Nigerian national who was carrying over five kilograms of cocaine at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, according to a police statement on Dec. 8.
The statement by the Provincial Security Directorate said the suspect was stopped by anti-narcotics officers at the airport terminal on Dec. 2.
The cocaine was hidden in 24 metal cylinders found in two suitcases belonging to the suspect, who arrived in the city from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The suspect had later been detained.
In another case, a total of 52 cocaine-filled condoms have been found in a Brazilian woman’s stomach at the Atatürk International Airport
Anti-drug police had received intelligence that a woman flying from Sao Paolo to Istanbul on Dec. 12 was carrying drugs.
Police detained the Brazilian woman as soon as she got off the plane. Police officers took the woman to the Haseki Training and Research Hospital for a detailed examination after failing to find the drugs in her baggage.
Doctors found 580 grams of cocaine-filled condoms in the stomach of the woman who was arrested on Dec. 5 after the medical examination.