Drug Bust

Drug Bust

By Eric Peterson. CREATED Oct 18, 2011

A dangerous and illegal drug is making its way to Northeast Wisconsin. The Brown County Drug Task Force has made a significant bust involving a drug called "khat". It's said to be as addicting as heroin, or meth.

Three men are now behind bars facing criminal charges.

Authorities displayed a small sample of the khat that was headed to Green Bay.

"All 26 packages were destined for the UPS store at 101 South Military," said Lt. John Laux, of the Green Bay Police Department.

Three boxes were shipped. A sting operation intercepted the khat, and three men were arrested, facing felony drug charges.

"A year ago, if you would have said khat, I would have said what's that?" said Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski.

John Zakowski says this will be his first khat case. Police say they are not surprised the drug is here.

"With the Somali culture getting larger in our community, it was just a matter of time before we figured we would see some of this," said Laux.

Internet video shows men chewing khat, to get high, and even a young boy, singing. For many, khat is part of the culture.

"You get together, invite friends over, and everybody will sit around and chew khat," said Laux.

But doctors say this drug is a stimulant, and can be addictive.

"People chew it, and get a little buzz, or speed-like effect, similar to amphetamine or cocaine, but not as strong," said Dr. Al Salmi, and emergency room physician at St. Vincent Hospital.

The Sheriff says when fresh, the drug is as potent as other narcotics.

"You don't know what that substance is, so to ingest that, to take part of that is extremely dangerous," said Brown County Sheriff John Gossage.

The three men involved with the bust face six years in prison, each.