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 Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible for help from a team
drug crime attorney who are ready to fight for you. 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
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!