COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A 20-year-old Minnesota man caught with more than 85 pounds of the drug khat at O'Hare Airport told authorities he didn't know the plant was illegal, according to an arrest report.
Dominic Running, 20, of Eagan, Minn. faces a drug charge after authorities at O'Hare found he had 39.5 kilos, or about 86 pounds, of khat after he got off a British Airways flight Saturday, according to the report.
That amount has a street value of more than $12,200, according to the report.
Khat is a traditionally chewed, African-based plant that contains cathinone, a stimulant, and is legal in some African countries, though it is illegal in the U.S. and recently banned in the U.K., where Running allegedly obtained it.
Running admitted to buying the khat in a suburb of London for about 200 pounds, according to the arrest report. That's about $300 U.S. currency.
Running told authorities that he'd attended a wedding earlier in the year where a friend's relatives had used the plant, and he didn't know it was illegal, according to the report.
Judge Donald Panarese Jr. on Sunday ordered Running released on his own recognizance and ordered him to submit to electronic monitoring.