Big crackdown in Mumbai: NCB seizes 6.9 kg of illegal Khat leaves, 1 Yemini national held

A Yemeni national was apprehended in the case after two consignments of 2.989 kgs and 3.960 kgs carrying Khat leaves were recovered from him.

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Courtesy: ANI

In the latest crackdown, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) busted an international network involved in the illicit trafficking of Khat leaves into India, along with the seizure of over 6.9 kilograms of Khat leaves in Maharashtra’s Mumbai, officials said on Monday.

Under the NDPS Act 1985, Catha Edulis (Dry Chatt or Mira Leaves Dry Chat Edulis) commonly known as 'Khat' is illegal in India, the officials said.

Yemeni national arrested in connection in Khat leaves trafficking

Following this crackdown, a Yemeni national was apprehended in the case after two consignments of 2.989 kgs and 3.960 kgs carrying Khat leaves were recovered from him.

The Narcotics Control Bureau has busted an international network illegally importing banned recreational drug Khat leaves into India by intercepting overseas postal parcels in Mumbai containing over 6 kilograms of the contraband originating from Kenya.

Acting on intelligence inputs regarding a Middle East-based cartel smuggling Khat leaves to the country, NCB officials identified and kept some Yemeni nationals under surveillance to track supply chains.

Recently, an examination of a parcel declared as tea packets booked from Kenya and received at Mumbai's Foreign Post Office revealed it actually contained dry Khat leaves weighing close to 4 kilograms. Another similar parcel also discovered later was found carrying around 3 kilograms.

What is Khat leaves?

Khat or 'Catha edulis' is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, whose leaves are chewed for stimulant effects. Though legal in some nations, it was included in India's NDPS Act in 2018 as an illicit substance.

Moreover, the NCB said the growing demand for exotic drugs like Khat in local illegal markets has attracted international smugglers seeking to capitalise on potential profits despite high legal risks.

Following the interception of the camouflaged consignments, a tip-off led NCB officials to mount a watch in the Masjid Bandar area for suspects attempting procurement. On November 29, a man identified as Yemeni national Galal Nmaa arrived to collect the parcels before being immediately nabbed by officers.

Investigation is on!

Further investigations aim to identify other members of the trafficking network supplying the psychotropic plant into India as well as domestic retail chains.

The case demonstrates NCB's sustained crackdown on both international and domestic syndicates involved in narcotics crimes across varied domains. Ongoing vigilance continues choking smuggling channels while curbing consumption.