Two Michigan men are facing charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized Khat and untaxed cigarettes, worth an estimated street value of $9,500, on the Ohio Turnpike Monday.
Troopers stopped a 2002 Chevy Venture with Michigan registration for a marked lanes violation on the Ohio Turnpike in Lorain County at 5:44 p.m.
Upon approaching the vehicle, troopers observed the Khat in plain view on the driver and passenger's laps. During interaction with the suspects, they voluntarily revealed a grocery bag containing 5 ounces of Khat. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed 189 cartons of cigarettes that had fraudulent tax stickers on them.
The driver, Saleh A. Ahmed, 28, and passenger, Mahsen A. Ahmed, 27, both of Dearborn, MI, were incarcerated in the Lorain County Jail. They have been charged with possession of a schedule I substance and untaxed cigarettes.
Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The fresh leaves, twigs and shoots of the Khat shrub are chewed like tobacco. It is considered a controlled substance.