Deputies Find Sprawling Opium Field Hidden in Plain Sight
Monterey County sheriff’s officials say they have destroyed 43,500 opium poppies that were planted in plain sight along a road in Moss Landing. There were enough poppies to make 13 pounds of raw opium, which could then be converted into 1.5 pounds of heroin with a street value of $45,000. Authorities said the field could have been harvested three times a year.
This was a first-of-its-kind discovery for the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department. It took some digging before authorities could be sure of what they had actually found. In order to identify the plants, they first had to submit them for testing. Those tests came back positive for Papaver Somniferum or opium poppies, which can be used to make an array of opiate narcotics.
The department still hasn’t identified the responsible parties. But when It does, they will be charged to the fullest extent of the law.
"This operation shows the Sheriff's Office commitment to battling the opioid epidemic that our communities and nation currently face," the department said.
Ninety-one Americans die every day from opioid overdose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California has one of the lowest opioid death rates in the nation, but it is still devastating. There were 2,012 deaths in 2016.