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Khat Charges in Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County Drug Crime Lawyer Explains Khat

Have you been charged with a crime involving the drug known as "khat"? Come to Stornello Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible for help from a team of drug crime attorneys who are ready to fight for you. Success in defending khat-related charges depends on working with a lawyer who understands both the underlying chemical properties of khat and the legal implications surrounding its cultivation, possession, distribution, delivery, and use.

What is Khat?

Native to the Horn of Africa and some parts of the Arabian Peninsula, khat is chewed for its mild stimulant effects, which is similar to coffee. Khat chewing as a social custom and has a history dating back thousands of years, and it continues to be found in many Ethiopian and Somali communities worldwide. Consequently, many immigrants from Somalia and Ethiopia living in Sugar Land enjoy chewing khat.

Is Khat Legal in the US

The khat leaf is not illegal in the United States, but the drug in the khat leaf, Cathinone, is a Schedule I controlled substance, making it among the most tightly regulated in the United States. The range of punishment for possession of khat depends on the amount possessed and can include up to life in prison.

But the burden of proof in khat cases is on the government to prove that the defendant knew that the leaf contained a banned substance.

Ethiopians in Sugar Land Prosecuted for Khat

There have been several cases recently in which Ethiopians living in the Sugar Land area have been arrested and charged with drug crimes relating to khat, and the Harris County District Attorney is aggressively prosecuting these cases. This might seem odd to some, in light of the fact that the World Health Organization has gone on the record saying that khat is not particularly addictive or dangerous.

The 2013 edition of the Texas Department of Public Safety's Texas Public Safety Threat Overview includes a mention of khat, describing Texas as a "regional center for the trafficking" of this drug. And the Texas Department of Public Safety has taken a keen interest in khat not only in relation to its status as a tightly regulated controlled substance, but also because of their belief that profits from the sale of the drug are being funneled back to support terrorist organizations such as al-Shabaab.

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