Sheriff: $500M in poppy plants seized in North Carolina

(Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

CLAREMONT, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say an acre (nearly half a hectare) of poppy plants used in producing opium has been seized in North Carolina.

Local news groups report the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office seized the field Tuesday. Authorities roughly estimate the value at $500 million, pending the plants’ weighing.

Sheriff Coy Reid says the plants were discovered behind a home by a narcotics investigator acting on a tip about something else. Reid says a person who answered the door said, “I guess you’re here about the opium.”

The sheriff’s office says Cody Xiong was arrested and charged with manufacture and trafficking by possession. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

Reid says the only other opium poppy plant field found this year in the U.S. was in California.

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