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18 Arrested in Khat Trafficking Investigation

Authorities have arrested 18 people in four states, including 10 from northern Virginia, for what they allege was an international trafficking ring that distributed nearly 10,000 pounds of the illegal African drug known as khat.

Federal prosecutors in Alexandria charged Yonis M. Ishak of Arlington as the conspiracy’s ringleader. He allegedly paid a network of couriers $1,000 each for trips to London to fetch fresh batches of khat, a leaf that gives users a high when chewed.khat_arrest

The drug is popular in East Africa. Of the 18 arrested, all were natives of either Somalia or Yemen.

John Torres, a special agent in charge with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, estimated the drug’s street value at $5 million.

Arrests were also made in Maryland, New York and Ohio

 

 

Others charged as part of the alleged conspiracy include the following:

· Abdulkadir Isse, a/k/a “Abdul” and “Burane,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Springfield, Va., is accused of being Ishak’s partner in the khat trafficking organization.

· Suado Mohammed Ali, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Burke, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat.

· Hassan Hassan, a/k/a “Elay,” a legal permanent U.S. resident from Somalia residing in Alexandria, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Ahmed Hassan, a/k/a “Dirir,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Alexandria, Va., is accused of assisting Ishak in smuggling and distributing khat, as well as laundering the proceeds of khat sales.

· Yonas Beyene, a/k/a “Yonka,” a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia residing in Alexandria, Va., is accused of using his position at a vehicle rental agent to assist Ishak in renting vehicles used to transport and distribute khat.

More From Our Site

18 Arrested in Khat Trafficking Investigation: MyFoxDC.com

 

 

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