Khat Charges in Fort Bend County

Houston Drug Crime Lawyer Explains Khat

Have you been charged with a crime involving the drug known as "khat"? Come to Stornello & Correro Law Firm, PLLC as soon as possible for help from a team of Houston drug crime attorneys who are ready to fight for you. Mark A. Correro has become well-known in the legal community, and indeed nationwide, for his success in defending khat cases, and he is now recognized as being an authority on the subject. Success in defending khat-related charges depends on working with a lawyer who understands both the underlying chemical properties of khat and the legal implications surrounding its cultivation, possession, distribution, delivery, and use.

What is khat?

Native to the Horn of Africa and some parts of the Arabian Peninsula, khat is chewed for its mild stimulant effects, which is similar to coffee. Khat chewing as a social custom and has a history dating back thousands of years, and it continues to be found in many Ethiopian and Somali communities worldwide. Consequently, many immigrants from Somalia and Ethiopia living in Greater Houston enjoy chewing khat.

The khat leaf is not illegal in the United States, but the drug in the khat leaf, Cathinone, is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is among the most tightly regulated in the United States. The range of punishment for possession of khat depends on the amount possessed, and can include up to life in prison. But the burden of proof in khat cases is on the government to prove that the defendant knew that the leaf contained a banned substance.

Ethiopians in Houston Prosecuted for Khat

There have been several cases recently in which Ethiopians living in the Houston area have been arrested and charged with drug crimes relating to khat, and the Harris County District Attorney is aggressively prosecuting these cases. This might seem odd to some, in light of the fact that the World Health Organization has gone on the record saying that khat is not particularly addictive or dangerous.

The 2013 edition of the Texas Department of Public Safety's Texas Public Safety Threat Overview includes a mention of khat, describing Texas as a "regional center for the trafficking" of this drug. And the Texas Department of Public Safety has taken a keen interest in khat not only in relation to its status as a tightly regulated controlled substance, but also because of their belief that profits from the sale of the drug are being funneled back to support terrorist organizations such as al-Shabaab.

Need a Houston khat attorney?

Don't take chances with the outcome of your case. The state and federal penalties for drug crimes ranging from simple possession to trafficking are harsh, and could have an enormous negative impact on your future. To make matters worse, a conviction could pose a threat to your immigrant status if you are a member of an immigrant community and have not naturalized as a U.S. citizen. We retain chemistry experts that have tried or appealed hundreds of khat cases across the United States. Contact our Fort Bend County defense firm now for a free case evaluation to discuss the situation and allow us to begin working on a strategy for defending your rights and your future!


For more information about khat, visit our blog to read an interview with Mark Correro .