OTTAWA – Border agents say they’ve seized 13,000 kilograms of khat, a drug banned in Canada.
The Canada Border Services Agency says it’s seeing a huge spike in attempts to smuggle the drug, with more than 1,300 seizures as of the end of May.
Khat is a plant that’s native to east Africa.
The green leaf of the plant contains cathine and cathinone, which when ingested produce effects similar to amphetamine.
Shipments of the drug were intercepted at Pearson International Airport and at an international mail processing centre in the Toronto area between January 2012 and May 31 this year.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney commended border service agents for diverting the drug from distribution in Canada.
“Individuals who attempt to smuggle this substance into Canada will face the full force of the law,” Blaney said in a statement.
“I commend the CBSA’s border service officers at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and International Mail Processing Centre, whose vigilance led to these seizures over the last several months.”
Khat carries the scientific name “catha edulis” and was listed by the World Health Organization in 2005 as an addictive drug.
The United Kingdom announced recently it will ban khat, following the lead of most European countries, as well as the United States and Canada.