Indiana State Police discovered 40 pounds of khat in a Jasper County traffic stop Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. | Indiana State Police photo
A traffic stop in Jasper County along Interstate 65 sent two people to jail Tuesday after state police found 40 pounds of khat worth about $20,000.
Khat is a flowering plant that is mostly grown in Africa. It has a shelf life of about two weeks before it starts to lose its potency. Users usually chew it for the stimulant-euphoric effect it has, police said.
The arrests unfolded as Senior Trooper Fred Trammel and Probationary Officer Brandon Urquidi stopped a 2012 Toyota Corolla for a traffic violation on I-65 southbound about two miles south of the Winamac/Fair Oaks exit.
Trammel walked his K-9 partner Ryker around the vehicle. Ryker alerted on the trunk area. A search of the Toyota revealed a bed sheet in the trunk covering bundles of khat.
The driver, Derald T. Pike, 28, of Bolingbrook, and his passenger, Walter T. Stevenson, 31, of Chicago, were taken to Jasper County Jail and charged with dealing a Schedule 1 drug and possession of a controlled substance.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the arrests.