MOULTRIE, Ga. — A Moultrie business owner and his brother were recently arrested on drug-related charges after their store was searched.
Adbul Rhman Faroq Al-Ghazali, 25, the owner of the Tobacco and Vape shop, 623 Veterans Parkway, was arrested July 15 by the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office when he was stopped for speeding and an expired tag.
“After he consented to a search of the vehicle Telfair County found approximately six ounces of what they believe to be khat in the vehicle,” said Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Team Investigator Keith Newman.
Khat is described by the National Drug Intelligence Center as “a flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula… Khat leaves are glossy and crimson-brown in color… Deteriorating khat leaves are leathery and turn yellow-green... Individuals often chew khat leaves because of their stimulant and euphoric effects, which are similar to, but less intense than, those resulting from the abuse of cocaine or methamphetamine.”
After Al-Ghazali’s arrest, Colquitt County drug agents searched his shop on July 16. His brother, the manager of the store, was present during the search.
In the back room of the store, investigators found approximately two pounds of what they believe to be khat, along with 129 THC oil cartridges, five packets of THC wax and one ounce of psilocybin mushrooms, Newman said. All of those are Schedule I controlled substances. He also said $13,646 in cash was discovered inside the register, in a tool box and within clothes.
“Both brothers were using the backroom as a place to sleep,” Newman said. “When we searched we found the khat tucked neatly behind a large shelf. … Including the cash, approximately $20,000 worth of product was recovered.”
There is currently no field test for khat so samples of the dark green leafy substance were sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for testing, Newman said. As of July 27 results had not come back yet.
Both Al-Ghazali and his 23-year-old brother, Adbul Rhman Muhammad Faroq Al-Ghazali, were charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Each has been released from the Colquitt County Jail on a $6,000 bond, one on July 18 and the other on July 22.