CLAREMONT, N.C. (AP) — A field of poppy plants that could be used to make opium was discovered in North Carolina and had an estimated value of $500 million, a sheriff says. Authorities admit that is a rough estimate on the value, because the plants still need to be weighed.
The acre of poppy plants was in rows, similar to how corn would be planted, in a field behind a home on Poultry Road. The plants are used in the manufacturing of opium, and growing them is far from legal. The field was located near Claremont, a Catawba County town about 40 miles north of Charlotte. It has a population of about 1,300 people.
“This is the second one in t
The sheriff’s office says one person in a nearby home, Cody Xiong, was arrested and charged with manufacture and trafficking by possession. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer. Plants were being pulled up Tuesday, and loaded into trailers.
Catawba County Sheriff’s Office deputies got a tip last week and were able to obtain a search warrant. Officials do not believe the plants were being made into opium on the property.
The sheriff said the only other opium poppy plant field has found in the United States this year was in California.
“The plants are being harvested here, and sent somewhere else where the opium is being produced from the plant,” Capt. Jason Reid said told WBTV.