Khat Smuggling Leads to Arrest of Terrorists Linked to Somalia

Seven terror suspects have been arrested in Britain in connection with trying to raise funds for terrorism-linked organizations in Somalia.

Officials with the Metropolitan Police Service, also more famous known as Scotland Yard, said six men and one woman were arrested during raids of several locations in and around London early Tuesday morning.

"The arrests were a part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation, into suspected fundraising for terrorism overseas," police officials explained in a statement.

Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative branch of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, also assisted in part of the investigation.

Authorities stated that the seven suspects are part of a sophisticated network, which is thought of illegally exporting the plant khat to the United States and Canada.

The plant is legal in several countries including the United Kingdom, but is considered a controlled substance in the United States and Canada.

"We are not prepared to discuss at present where overseas funding is allegedly being sent," a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

A source close to the investigation explained that the khat was transported from Africa to Britain, where it was packaged and then smuggled into the United States and Canada.

The money raised from the illegal sale of khat was then used to fund terrorism in Somalia, which has not had an effective or functional central government in over 20 years.

Police officials stated that the suspects were between 30 and 49, but their identities have not been released.

"They have been taken to a central London police station where they remain in custody," a spokesperson said, adding that there were still search warrants scheduled to take place around London.

Khat is popular in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where users chew the leaves then ingest the juice, which contains an ingredient similar to amphetamine.