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Paramus PD: Route 17 Driver Had Meth-Like Plant, $30,000 Cash

INSET: Alhussain Ali Ashabi. Paramus police seized the khat and the cash.
INSET: Alhussain Ali Ashabi. Paramus police seized the khat and the cash. Photo Credit: IMAGES: Courtesy PARAMUS PD

PARAMUS, N.J. – An Albany man stopped by Paramus police had a half-pound of an illegal amphetamine-like chewable plant and nearly $28,000 in cash in his car, authorities said Thursday.

Officers Timothy Reed and Forrest Diedolf stopped Alhussain Ali Ashabi, 32, for failing to maintain a lane in his 2017 Nissan Altima on Route 17 around 9 p.m. Monday, Deputy Police Chief Robert M. Guidetti said.

They spotted drugs “in the passenger compartment in plain view,” then discovered the cash in the center console, overhead sun visor and stuffed in a garment bag, he said.

They also found a bag of heroin and the half-pound of Khat, which is illegal to have in the United States.

Native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Penninsula, khat is a psychologically dependent drug that contains cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant that authorities say can have effects similar to cocaine and meth.

It can also induce manic behavior, paranoia, nightmares, hallucinations and hyperactivity – as well as violence and suicidal depression, the DEA says.

It can cause an immediate increase in blood pressure and heart rate and lead to exhaustion with chronic use, federal authorities say, adding that there have been reports of liver damage heart complications.

Ashabi was released pending a Feb. 3 court appearance on two counts of drug possession and one of money laundering. He also received traffic summonses for careless driving and possession of drugs in a motor vehicle, Guidetti said.

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