East African drug khat shows up among seafood workers in Unalaska

Khat, a plant native to East Africa with leaves that have a mild stimulant effect when chewed, has been turning up in Unalaska among seafood workers, Unalaska police tell The Bristol Bay Times. Illegal in the U.S. since 1993, khat may be helping workers stay awake through long shifts.

On June 30, 22 grams in a zippered plastic bag were turned in to the Unalaska Department of Public Safety, according to police chief Jamie Sunderland.

A suspect has been identified as possessing the substance, found in the area of the Unisea seafood processing plant, Sunderland said. The green leafy material has been sent to a laboratory to determine if it is in fact khat, he said. If confirmed, the suspect is expected to face criminal charges of about the same level as possession of marijuana, he said.

Read more: Drug 'khat' uncovered in Unalaska