Customs officers at Dulles airport seized two large shipments of the drug khat, which they said would have had a street value of $21,000 to $41,000.
The khat, shipped from Kenya, was dried — unlike the moist leaves wrapped in banana leaves that customs officers have found more often. In a statement, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said that it will now look for dried leaves as well after finding these shipments.
The first box arrived on Jan. 28 and the second on Feb. 9. Both were labeled as dry henna leaves rather than khat, the press release said. When investigators sent samples to a laboratory, they learned that the leaves were khat.
The boxes weighted about 153 pounds in total, the press release said.
The press release said that the drug contains two controlled substances, including a schedule I controlled substance that acts as a stimulant like amphetamines and is considered addictive.
The leaves can be smoked, chewed as a paste, or brewed in tea, Customs and Border Patrol said.