Poppy plant field valued at $500M seized in North Carolina

CLAREMONT, N.C. (AP) — An acre of poppy plants used in the manufacturing of opium has been seized in North Carolina.

News outlets report the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office chose to seize the field Tuesday, as rain made the removal easier. Authorities roughly estimate its 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 the people who answered the door said, “I guess you’re here about the opium.”

Cody Xiong has been 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 United States was in California.

Deputies continue to investigate.