The man was carrying two suitcases full of the flowering plant from the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula that contains an amphetamine-like stimulant. The plant is chewed widely by the general public in East Africa, especially in Kenya and Somalia, where it is not illegal.
The 26-year-old Dutch citizen had travelled to Zurich from Nairobi via Dubai when he was arrested on Monday September 18th at Zurich Airport. He agreed to have the drugs destroyed, according to a subsequent police statement.
A British man was arrested at Geneva Airport in 2015 with 90 kilograms of khat hidden in four suitcases. Police later revealed that the same man had been arrested for importing the stimulant through Basel in 2013.
Khat is illegal in Switzerland and defined in law as a drug while in the UK the plant is legal. The effects are “somewhere between coffee and Ritalin” according to an expert cited in Swiss daily tagezanzeiger.ch.
The same report claims large amounts of the drug have appeared on the market since 2012 and may be linked to increased migration from the Horn of Africa.
Five people have been apprehended at Zurich Airport alone in the last month for attempting to smuggle khat into Switzerland, reports landbote.ch.