BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was in for a surprise after examining two shipments from Nigeria.

The two shipments that arrived by air from Nigeria and were headed to an address in Lanham, Maryland containing 724 pounds of khat, a green leafy plant grown in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula that the World Health Organization considers as a drug of abuse.

The first shipment of the 491 pounds arrived Feb. 12, which contained green tea as well as the second shipment of the 233 pounds arriving Feb. 13 also containing green tea. Both shipments contained dried leaves that CBP suspected to be Khat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist confirmed the samples of each shipment was Catha Edulis, also known as khat, which is chewed for its stimulant effect.

“Customs and Border Protection is our nation’s first line of defense against transnational criminal organizations that thrive on the sale of illicit products such as khat to fund their other nefarious business,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Direction in Baltimore. “We will remain steadfast in out commitment to secure our homeland and to help protect the health and well-being of our families and the American public.”

CBP regularly conducts inspections operations on arriving and departing international flights and seizes narcotics, weapons, currency, prohibited agriculture products, counterfeit goods and other illicit items.

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