Update: Two of the three men charged with possession of a drug called khat have bonded out of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department.
Nasir F. Hassan, 29, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of counterfeit goods. His bond was set at $20,000 per count.
Abdul N. Saeed, 38, was charged with possession of a controlled substance. His bond was set at $20,000.
Saleh Hassan Alsoufi, 35, remains behind bars charged with possession of controlled substance and possession of counterfeit goods. His bond was set at $20,000 per count.
Mohammed A. Alihini was also arrested. He will face misdemeanor charges.
LAUREL, Miss. (WHLT) – In the early hours of Thursday morning, Laurel Police conducted a search warrant resulting in 4 arrests, $28,000 dollars in counterfeit money, knock-off designer clothing, several firearms, and perhaps the most alarming discovery to investigators, almost a half pound of a drug called khat.
“That’s a stimulant based drug. It affects the central nervous system. It kind of works in the same method as methamphetamine would. It’s not common around here,” Laurel Narcotics Investigator Layne Bounds said.
Officials tell us khat is a green leafy drug that is chewed like tobacco.
According to Bound, this is only the second khat bust in Mississippi where it was brought into the state and sold.
“People do not see it. Most patrol officers will look at it and not even realize what they’re looking at. I work narcotics for eight years and I’ve not once even took a class on it,”Bounds said.
The drug was found in homes located at 1324 Hill Drive and 1004 North 12th Avenue.
Firearms and counterfeit goods were seized from several businesses including Al’s Quick Stop, Al’s One Stop, and First Avenue Curb.
According to Bound, the ring leader of the operation is Saleh Hassan Alsoufi,35.
Bound says the investigation shows he and the others are from Yemen, where khat is common.
Also arrested with Alsoufi was Nasir F. Hassan, 29, Abdul N. Saeed, 38, and Mohammed A. Alhini.
This was the result of a year long investigation.
“I think it’s something that’s very interesting that we need to start looking at because it’s obviously here,” Bounds said.
Laurel officials also tell us khat is so uncommon in Mississippi, they’re not even sure if their K-9s can detect it, because they’ve never trained with the drug.