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Saudi authorities bust 45 tons of smuggled khat

Use of the plant is widespread in Saudi Arabia, where a major drug war is taking place.
MICHAEL TEWELDE/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle a massive amount of khat today. 

The Ministry of the Interior announced the seizure of 45.6 tons of khat as well as 760 kilograms (1,675 pounds) of hashish in several areas of the kingdom. Border security forces arrested 41 Saudi citizens in relation to the incident, in addition to 11 people from Ethiopia, seven from Yemen and two from Pakistan, according to a tweet from the ministry. 

Khat is a plant that has stimulant properties when chewed. It is widely consumed in east Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Khat is one of the most popular drugs in Saudi Arabia, and its use is particularly prominent in the Jazan region. Khat is also widely used in Yemen

Why it matters:  Saudi is in the midst of a major drug war. On April 8, authorities seized 39 tons of khat in addition to hash and amphetamine pills. On April 20, 80 tons of khat were seized as well as hash and amphetamines and 120 people were arrested

Saudi Arabia also has a major problem with addiction to Captagon — a pill that shares many properties with amphetamines. There have been numerous Captagon busts this year.