$500 million opium farm found in North Carolina | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 27.05.2017
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$500 million opium farm found in North Carolina

Police found the massive operation by accident while investigating an unrelated case. The only other opium farm found in the US this year was in California.

North Carolina police stumbled upon an acre (just under half a hectare) of poppy plants used in opium production worth an estimated $500 million (447 million euros) earlier this week.

"One of our narcotics investigators came to the house looking for something else. When he knocked on the door, the guys said. 'I guess you're here about the opium,'" said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid.

The poppy farm was found on a patch of land near Clearmont, which is about 140 miles (225 kilometers) west of the state capital, Raleigh.

All 2,000 plants, which were planted behind the house, were confiscated. The Charlotte Observer reported 358 animals, including chickens, dogs and cats were seized from the residence. There were also 40 deceased animals in cages and pens.

The sheriff's office said Cody Xiong was arrested and charged with manufacturing and trafficking by possession. Sheriff Reid said the only other opium farm that has been found in the US this year was in California.

kbd/kl (AP, dpa) 

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