CHICAGO — Authorities intercepted a package containing 43 pounds of an exotic narcotic destined for the South Loop — and arrested a cab driver who allegedly paid the undercover investigator who delivered it.
Department of Homeland Security officials stopped a package containing about $20,000 worth of Khat on the East Coast on Nov. 14, the Cook County Sheriff's Office said. It was sent from France and addressed to a Chicago residence in the 2600 block of South 15th Street, the sherriff’s office said.
Authorities allowed the package to proceed to O’Hare International Airport, where sheriff’s police picked it up on Nov. 16.
Undercover investigators took the package to the address listed on it and arrested the person who accepted it. But the package had been destined for other hands — those of cab driver Hassan Khalif-Mohamud, according to the sheriff's office.
He allegedly accepted the package at a gas station downtown and paid an undercover investigator $150 for bringing it.
Khalif-Mohamud, 28, appeared in court Wednesday and was denied bond. He was charged with violating probation related to a 2010 charge for possession of a controlled substance.
Khat, a flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, makes users feel “amphetaminelike effects, including euphoria, increased alertness and energy, and hyperactivity,” along with after-effects that include “lack of concentration, numbness and insomnia,” according to the sheriff’s office release.
It can be made into a tea or chewable paste.