North Carolina Police Stumble Upon $500M Opium-Producing Operation

A North Carolina man has been charged with drug trafficking and manufacturing after investigators accidentally discovered his poppy field containing about $500 million in opium. Investigators say they paid a visit to the home of Cody Xiong for an unrelated matter this week, but Xiong ’fessed up as soon as he saw them at his door. “I guess you are here for the opium,” Xiong told an investigator Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. The investigator, who was not there for the opium, then found nearly an acre full of opium-producing poppy plants, which authorities believe Xiong was shipping elsewhere to be turned into heroin. The property in the small town of Claremont, with only about 1,400 residents, was at the end of a dead-end road, with the poppy plants hidden by trees. “It was out there. Only residents know that it is out there at the end of the road. It wasn’t something you could just ride by,” Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid told The Washington Post. An investigation into Xiong’s activities is now under way, with the help of the DEA. Possession of poppy plants is illegal unless the plants are registered with the Food and Drug Administration.