Monday, May 13 2013 4:24 PM EDT2013-05-13 20:24:22 GMT
Central Coast News has tickets to giveaway to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. One person will recived (4) tickets in the Exlpore the Monterey Bay Aquarium giveaway. To enter the contest you Must LIKE CentralMore >>
Central Coast News has tickets to giveaway to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. One person will recive (4) tickets in the Exlpore the Monterey Bay Aquarium giveaway.More >>
SEASIDE, Calif.- Local police seize hundreds of pounds of an exotic drug that's popping up on the Central Coast. It's called khat and it comes from a shrub native to Southern Arabia and East Africa.
Investigators said it's becoming a big problem across the country. Seaside investigators said this is the first big khat bust on the Central Coast, since one in Prunedale in the late nineties and it's hard to catch. They said if it were on the back of truck it would look like a pile of leaves and it's being shipped straight to the Central Coast from England.
It's a stimulant that can be smoked and is as serious as meth.
"What makes khat illegal is that it has two chemicals, one chemical is cathinone and it has a potential for being highly addictive," Seaside Police Department Acting Commander Bruno Dias.
Dias said what started as 72 pound seizure from a car belonging to 40-year-old Jaime Gomez of Salinas on Wednesday, has turned into a much bigger investigation, after another search on Thursday.
"We're finding out that this is something that's been on going for a while. So we're looking at this as something that is in the hundreds of pounds," Dias said.
Dias said Gomez was booked in jail but has since bailed out. Dias said his team has been working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to track Gomez's shipments coming through a UPS store in Seaside and one in Del Rey Oaks.
Investigators said it was shipped and disguised as tea from England and you'd never know the difference because it doesn't have a distinct smell. Dias said its big business in the US because it sells for about $180 to $300 bucks a pound.
"For example in San Diego, there's a large Somalian community there, and I know that this drug, there's been some significant seizures in San Diego," Dias said.
But in places where it's grown, it only sells for about a buck a pound.
"A lot of its grown in Ethiopia and then it goes to England and from England to Canada and then to the US," Dias said.
Seaside police said khat doesn't have a big footprint on the Central Coast, but it's something they're keeping a close eye on.
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:15 AM EDT2013-05-18 15:15:59 GMT
LOMPOC, Calif. - The Lompoc Fire Department held its lottery on Friday morning for local groups to sell "safe and sane" fireworks for its upcoming Fourth of July celebration. Fire officials held a blindMore >>
LOMPOC, Calif. - The Lompoc Fire Department held its lottery on Friday morning for local groups to sell "safe and sane" fireworks for its upcoming Fourth of July celebration.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 1:26 AM EDT2013-05-18 05:26:42 GMT
LOMPOC, Calif. - Lompoc City Fire Department is bringing on six new firefighters thanks to a $ 1.5 million grant that works out to about $500,000 a year. "So the six new firefighters that we are swearing-inMore >>
$1.5 million grant used to hire six new firefighters and promote from within.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 1:24 AM EDT2013-05-18 05:24:06 GMT
LOMPOC, Calif. - Jack Rodenhi has been a CPA and tax accountant in Lompoc for more than 30 years. He says 501(c )4 charitable organizations are required to be involved in social welfare activities onlyMore >>
Century-old non-profit tax exemption at heart of IRS debate and scandal in Washington D.C.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 1:18 AM EDT2013-05-18 05:18:33 GMT
PISMO BEACH, Calif. - Pismo Beach Police confirm that a missing at-risk man from Lompoc has been found after a good samaritan saw his photo in the news. Pismo Beach Police say 24-year-old Blake LewoltMore >>
PISMO BEACH, Calif. - Pismo Beach Police confirm that a missing at-risk man from Lompoc has been found after a good samaritan saw his photo in the news.More >>