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Swiss customs seizes almost 5 tons of khat at Zurich airport

April 8, 2015

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss authorities say they have seized more than 4.4 metric tons (4.9 tons) of the banned stimulant khat at Zurich airport — the biggest drugs haul recorded there.

Customs officials say the khat was hidden inside 495 postal packages — declared as tea, henna or spices — sent over a two-week period and destined for North America, Europe or Asia.

Airport customs chief Heinz Widmer said Wednesday the shipments appeared to be the work of a single group as all had come on the same route from Nairobi. They were posted in Kenya or Tanzania.

Khat is popular in parts of East Africa and the Middle East, where it is chewed, smoked or brewed as tea.

It is banned in many countries because it has been linked to psychotic episodes.

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