Seven suitcases filled with khat seized at Prague airport

Prague police arrested two foreigners at the Prague airport after they were caught trying to smuggle 142 kg of khat drug into the country in multiple suitcases.

One of the bags containing khat shipment | Photo courtesy of Czech Police

The two passengers on their way to Prague from the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, were stopped for an inspection by the Customs Administration officers at the Vaclav Havel Airport.

Initial x-ray inspection of their seven suitcases revealed a large amount of organic material. Subsequent physical examination of the bags produced 142 kg of khat, a stimulant drug that comes from a shrub that grows in East Africa and southern Arabia.

Both detainees were arrested by the police and presented to a court for a custody hearing. Currently, they are staying in remand prison pending investigation and criminal prosecution.

If found guilty on drug smuggling charges, both travelers face up to 12 years in prison and deportation.

Police did not disclose the nationalities of the detained suspects.

A third man who slipped away and is believed to be connected to the smuggling is wanted by the Prague police. According to the official statement, and released photographs, he was present at the airport but managed to leave with one bag.

The green khat leaves are chewed, and a small ball of partially chewed leaves are held against the inside of the cheek. The Catha edulis plant contains two alkaloids, cathinone and cathine. Both acts as stimulants and are said to cause excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria.

According to the police statement, the entire shipment was meant to be distributed inside the Czech Republic.