An Arlington man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of conspiring to distribute cathinone, a stimulant found in a shrub native to East Africa.

Yonis Muhudin Ishak, 42, admitted in Alexandria’s federal court that he imported khat, a flowering shrub, and then distributed wholesale quantities of it. When chewed, fresh khat leaves produce an effect that is similar to, but less intense than, cocaine, according to federal authorities. Ishak is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 20 before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.