Police officers in North Carolina got a little more than they bargained for this week, when they tracked down what they thought was a rural cannabis cultivation site, but instead uncovered a half-acre field full of poppy plants ready to be turned into opium, the base form of heroin.
According to CNN, Catawba County Sheriffs went to the rural home of 37 year-old Cody Xiong, who they suspected of growing marijuana. When they got there the man didn’t even attempt to hide his uniquely illicit garden.
As soon as Xiong opened the door, he saw the cops and blurted out; "I guess you're here for the opium."
The problem is, none of the officers had ever seen an illegal opium grow. Xiong was only placed under arrest after the cops consulted with an agricultural expert and confirmed that they were indeed drug-producing poppies.
The half-acre plot had 2,000 pounds of poppies, with an eventual estimated street value of $500 million.
Xiong will most likely face charges of manufacturing a Schedule II narcotic and drug trafficking, but he will go down in history - Captain Jason Reid of the Catawba County Sheriff's Office told reporters that the bust was only the second large-scale opium production shut down on U.S. soil.