The second of two Ethiopian refugees charged with conspiring to import more than 400 pounds of an exotic plant used as a drug has pleaded guilty to federal charges.
During a plea hearing on Thursday Sherif Kadir Sirage, also known as Sherif Sherif, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import a controlled substance into the United States.
Prosecutors claim Sirage and Patrick Bahati arranged to have 400 pounds of a plant called khat flown into Salt Lake City from Ethiopia. Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub that is chewed like tobacco in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It is considered a narcotic and is illegal in the United States as well as parts of Europe, East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The plant's effect on the human body is similar to that of ephedra.
Sirage admitted that he and Bahati planned to sell the khat to people in the Salt Lake area who come from the Ethiopian region.Last month, Bahati pleaded guilty to the same charge. Sirage is scheduled to be sentenced May 21.