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Law enforcement claims of khat, terrorism connection questioned

Drug prosecutions for possessing plant from Horn of Africa region are rare.

By Eric Dexheimer - American-Statesman Staff



Eighteen months ago, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper making a routine traffic stop of two men driving on a highway northeast of Houston noticed both were chewing on a wad of green leaves. His subsequent search of the car launched a yearlong investigation involving local, state and national law enforcement agencies that has so far resulted in more than a half-dozen arrests in the Houston area.

In response, Muslim civil rights groups are questioning whether the Austin-based state agency has crossed a line by unfairly portraying the defendants as terrorists.

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