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International drug ring busted

Rochester -- Authorities said 17 members of an international drug ring flooded parts of New York, Massachusetts and Ohio with several tons of a narcotic obtained from Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia.

They said the substance, known as khat, was shipped to the United States through the United Kingdom, China, Holland and Belgium.

Authorities said the ring laundered proceeds through operations in Minnesota and wired the money to various locations abroad, including Dubai and England.

Five of the 17 who were indicted have direct ties to Rochester, including Bayan Yusuf and Ahmed Adem, both 31, who allegedly delivered the drug to distributors and direct customers throughout Buffalo, Rochester, Brooklyn and Everett, Mass.

The case was announced Friday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton.

A 215-count indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn's state Supreme Court.

Khat is popular in parts of the Middle East and Africa, but it's classified as a dangerous narcotic in the United States. Users chew the leaf, producing a mild high.

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Washington Times