CENTRAL COAST, Calif. -- Central Coast News got a first look at 128 pounds of khat, a narcotic compared to meth, investigators seized on its way to the Monterey Peninsula from England.
Although it's green, don't confuse it with pot.
"There's no production," said Detective Richard Cox with Marina Police. "You just pick it from its source and you can start ingesting it from the get go."
There's several ways it can be ingested to get the euphoria and hallucinations associated with it.
Investigators said people can chew it, like tobacco, put it in tea, and smoke it.
In Africa, it's worth about $1 per pound, but investigators think the value in the United States could be around $350 a pound.
"It's very concerning to us, so that's why we put a lot of effort and we work together with different agencies and it resulted to a very good seizure," said Bruno Dias, Seaside Police acting commander.
Investigators said it's hard to tell just by looking that khat is a drug.
"There's really no odor. It's pretty light," said Detective Cox. "It pretty much just looks like a leaf. If you were to see this in the back of the pickup truck, you would think someone was just done doing yard work."
Investigators don't know whose using the drug locally, or how it's being used.
But they believe it all started as a 72-pound seizure from a car belonging to 40-year-old Jaime Gomez of Salinas.
All parcels were addressed to him.
Investigators said from this seizure alone, the drug has been here on the central coast and it's probably going to increase in popularity.
While it doesn't look a whole lot like a drug, if people continue to take it they'll have nightmares, inability to sleep and high blood pressure.
Investigators said right now they don't know the major dangers, except an immediate high.
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