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Waverly Hills Man Accused of Running International Drug Ring

by ARLnow.com May 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm 4,383 20 Comments

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) An Arlington man has been arrested and accused of running an international drug ring.

Federal prosecutors say Yonis M. Ishak of Arlington was the leader of a criminal conspiracy that imported millions of grams of the illegal African drug Khat into the United States from England, Holland and Canada. Public records show that Ishak lived in an apartment on the 2000 block of N. Vermont Street in Waverly Hills.

Authorities say Ishak, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, used couriers and the postal system to distribute nearly 10,000 pounds of Khat to at least 15 states, including California, Washington, Tennessee, New York and the D.C. metro area. Ishak was arrested yesterday along with 17 alleged co-conspirators. Ten of the individuals arrested were from Northern Virginia, although Ishak was the only one from Arlington.

Khat leaves contain the drug cathinone, an addictive amphetamine-like stimulant. The leaves are chewed by users, a common practice in parts of Africa and the Middle East. The charge of conspiring to distribute the drug carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. See more information on the case here.

  • KalashniKEV

    Where am I supposed to score khat now that 31-11/ Lalabella is closed and the Pike is fixin to dry up?

  • Bard

    First link at the bottom is to an FBI SWAT training exercise in Waverly Hills in March. Seems like Mr. Ishak could have picked a better venue for his headquarters.

  • Dude Where’s My Car

    When are they going to crack down on those “coffee houses” in Arlington that openly sell coffee? (street name “java”) Coffee contains the addictive alkaloid stimulant caffeine. You see addicts in those “coffee houses” all the time, in their brown flip flops and brand-new simulation-faded-retro-ironic-hipster t-shirts. These people sit there abusing this stuff all over our county. In some of these places you can even see the junkies using something called “the twitter” and using something called a “hashtag.” This kind of drug ring must be stopped! Won’t someone think of the children?

    • eslater

      Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco: legal.
      Kaht, marijuana, lsd: illegal

      There’s no reason to it, it’s just historical happenstance if your drug ends up on one side of the line or another.

      • BoredHouseWife


        There is no incentive for corporations to make money off of cannabis. In fact they have incentives to keep it illegal.

    • Bluemontsince1961


    • Let’s not forget alcohol which can be purchased at any 7-Eleven, grocery store, restaurant, or bar in Virginia. Oh, the humanity!

  • Cabby

    A few months back, a guy driving my cab was chewing this stuff

  • SouthArlJD

    Oh brother. “Addictive”? Are they for real? It’s no more addictive than coffee and gives a boost about the same as a can of Red Bull. Big freakin’ deal. We didn’t even know what this stuff was 10 years ago. I remember having a case in which my client accused the child’s father of spending too much time hanging with his friends chewing khat leaves like a good Somali and the judge hadn’t even heard of the stuff. All the research I did showed it’s about as dangerous as a tall expresso.

    • Kalashnikev

      It’s delicious mottled in a mojito… or in the bottom of your RBV for an extra boost!

    • TGEoA

      And did your vast legal research indicate that khat is illegal?

  • Not Waverly

    That’s Cherrydale, not Waverly Hills. Utah is the boundary.

  • Not Waverly

    They’re both super nice and not much different from each other. Both are about the last place I’d have guess this would be going on.

    • charlie

      i know a house…
      seriously? every neighborhood has this going on. almost every BBQ, wine tasting, child’s birthday party i attend in Arlington someone has some “stuff”. even in lyon village (well, we were in the east end, ok colonial village).
      I’m shocked when K Street lawyers and Federal SSE’s all know where to buy stuff.

  • Arlingtron

    Khat fueled hostile rebel fighters in Somalia in the early 1990s including the attack that killed US troops there as a part of international humanitarian relief efforts. Nothing like a little afternoon pick-me-up to go after people trying to keep your citizens from starving.


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