Melbourne : Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Melbourne Airport last night seized an estimated 735 kilograms of Khat, a plant containing an amphetamine-like stimulant, with an estimated street value of more than one million dollars. Khat is a naturally occurring stimulant that contains psychoactive substances, namely cathinone (which is chemically similar to amphetamine) and cathine.Cathinone is also a border controlled drug listed under schedule 4 of the Criminal Code Regulations 2002.
Regional Commander Victoria and Tasmania Don Smith praised the work of the ABF officers who made the detection at the airport. He stated, ‘These officers have done a great job preventing a very significant quantity of a prohibited substance from being imported into Australia —it is a testament to the diligent and valuable work they perform each and every day.’
ABF officers were alerted by BorderWatch and Crime Stoppers reports that indicated a large group of passengers would attempt to import a significant quantity of the substance on its return from a trip to Ethiopia. An examination of the luggage belonging to twelve Australian citizens and one US citizen, who arrived at Melbourne Airport on a flight from Doha, Qatar, revealed Khat concealed in their suitcases in plastic bags. The US citizen was referred to ABF Border Entry Officers and his visa has been cancelled.
Each of the passengers were issued a seizure notice for the prohibited import.