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Taxi Driver Arrested On Unusual Drug Charges

Hassan Khalif-Mohamud (Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office)

Hassan Khalif-Mohamud (Credit: Cook County Sheriff’s Office)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A taxi driver is in custody Wednesday after investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Cook County Sheriff’s office intercepted a package containing $20,000 worth a plant that causes amphetamine-like effects.

Hassan Khalif-Mohamud is expected to appear in court Wednesday after he allegedly accepted the package during a sting in downtown Chicago, according to a sheriff’s office release.

He is being held without bond for violating his probation terms from a 2010 charge of possessing a controlled substance.

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Homeland Security agents seized the package on the East Coast on Nov. 14 as it made its way from France to an address in the 2600 block of West 15th Street, the release said.

Sheriff’s police then took control of the package two days later at O’Hare International Airport and discovered it contained 43 pounds of khat, a shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the release said.

Investigators determined that the package was ultimately meant for Khalif-Mohamud, the sheriff’s office claims.

Authorities took him into custody after he allegedly paid $150 to an undercover investigator who delivered the package.

Khat can cause feelings of euphoria, hyperactivity and increased alertness and energy once it is ingested, the release said.

The effects can last as long as three hours. People who use the plant as a drug will chew the plant’s leaves and shoots or make it into tea or a chewable paste.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)