A Minnesota man was caught with nearly 90 pounds of the illegal African drug khat Saturday afternoon at O'Hare International Airport, according to prosecutors.
Cook County Judge Donald Panarese set bail for Dominic Running, 20, at $20,000 in bond court today.
Running, of the 4000 block of West Meadowlark Lane in Eagan, Minn., had 39.5 kilograms of khat -- worth more than $12,000 -- when he was stopped by customs agents shortly before 4:30 p.m. at O'Hare, prosecutors said. The plant is often chewed like tobacco and contains a stimulant, cathinone, that is similar in effect to an amphetimine and is classified as illegal under federal drug regulations.
Running told authorities a friend's family had used khat at a wedding earlier this year and he did not know it was illegal, prosecutors said. He also admitted he had bought it for 200 British pounds in the United Kingdom, where it was outlawed less than two months ago.
Running is charged with violating the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.