MOMBASA, Kenya — Three Danish women were arrested at an airport at the Kenyan coast for allegedly attempting to smuggle 61 kilograms (134 pounds) of khat to Denmark, where the mild stimulant is illegal, a Kenyan police official said Thursday.
The khat was concealed in four suitcases, said Richard Okweya, a police official at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
Okweya said two of the women were charged with exporting undeclared goods, because khat is not illegal in Kenya. Charges against the third suspect were dropped because she was not travelling with the consignment, he said. Khat is worth around $12,000 locally but could fetch a higher price internationally, Okweya said.
The two suspects pleaded guilty to the charges and were fined $550 each or face a jail term of six months.
Khat has been illegal in Denmark since 1993. Also known as cathonine, it is popular in parts of the Middle East and Africa, where users chew the leaf to release stimulants that produce a mild high. It’s classified as a dangerous narcotic in the United States.
FOLLOW NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS ON FACEBOOK @ New Africa Business News.com