Kilburn man jailed for his role in $500k khat smuggling to the US plot

Hersi Farah from Kilburn, has been jailed for 18 motnhs

Hersi Farah from Kilburn, has been jailed for 18 motnhs - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Kilburn man has been jailed for his role in a khat smuggling gang who raked in a fortune exporting the stimulant to the US where it is banned.

Hersi Farah, 48 of Torbay Mansions in Willesden Lane, teamed up with three other people to disguised Khat in parcels as wedding dresses and barbecues.

Southwark Crown Court heard the drug, which produces an amphetamine-like effect when chewed, sells for around £3 per bunch in the UK.

In America it rockets to $50 (£30) per ‘piece’ and hundreds of parcels were shipped to the US during the conspiracy, between January 1, 2009 and May 2 last year.

Farah, Lelah Ali, 46, her husband Adrian Wall, 50, both from Place, Cardiff, Hersi, 48, all admitted being part of the smuggling ring.

The smugglers were caught discussing the plot in a string of phone calls, including mislabelling parcels, which addresses to send them to, how much cash was being made and when it would be sent back to Britain.

They were convicted of conspiracy to commit offences under Section 167 of the Customs and Excise Management 1979.

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All three, together with Warsame Nur, 49, from Coventry, received at least $500,000 US dollars (£311,000) from the sales.

Osman Said, 43, admitted being involved in a separate plot to flood the US with khat.

Ali, Said and Farah were jailed for 18 months each, while Wall was handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Farah, Wall and Ali admitted sending parcels to Yonis Ishak and Isse Abdulkadir, who were sentenced to 33 months and 27 months in prison respectively.

Abdulkadir and Ishak, who became prosecution witnesses for the US investigation in order to get shorter jail terms, were sentenced together with 13 other defendants for distributing the drug.