STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Stapleton man pulled over during a traffic stop was discovered to be carrying a bag full of a drug more commonly found in East Africa and the Middle East, police allege.
Abdulwahed Alhakeem, 30, of the 400 block of Vanderbilt Avenue, had a
plastic zip bag full of cathinone, a dry leafy substance more commonly
known as khat, when police pulled him over at the corner of Harrison and
Port Richmond avenues early yesterday morning, police allege.
Khat is a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the United States. It is
most typically chewed to experience euphoria and stimulation, though
federal authorities say side effects can run from anorexia, to heart
disease and hypertension, hallucination and hyperactivity in children,
Not all countries outlaw khat, and its use is a social norm in several Middle Eastern nations, including Yemen.
In 2006, federal and New York City authorities targeted 44 suspects in
an anti-khat smuggling crackdown dubbed “Operation Somali Express.”
Alhakeem is charged with fifth- and seventh-degree criminal possession
of a controlled substance, said Peter N. Spencer, a spokesman for
District Attorney Daniel Donovan.