United States v. Abdulle, No. 06-3647-cr (2d Cir. April 22, 2009) (Newman, Sotomayor, Katzmann, CJJ)
Defendant Mohamed was convicted of distributing cathinone, the active ingredient in khat leaves, and challenged the sufficiency of the evidence against him. The circuit affirmed.
The difficulty, as always in khat cases, is the complex regulatory scheme for this substance. See Krazy Khat, posted September 27, 2008. Khat itself is not a controlled substance. Cathinone, the stimulant present in the leaves when it is first harvested is a Schedule I controlled substance; cathine, the substance that cathinone turns into after a few days, is a Schedule IV controlled substance and is not always illegal.
Mohamed was specifically charged with trafficking in the Schedule I substance. Thus, the government was required to prove that he knew that he possessed and intended to deal in a controlled substance, and that he in fact possessed cathinone. His sufficiency …