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Monterey County investigators pull off largest opium bust in the history of California

Monterey County investigators pull off largest opium bust in the history of California

In one of the largest drug busts in California, authorities seized tonnes of opium poppies from Monterey County recently. According to reports, the Monterey County sheriff’s investigators seized more than 34,000 pounds of opium poppies over the period of five weeks. The seized opium poppies, considered the biggest in the history of California, were being cultivated in eight separate fields around the northern part of the county using 5.6 acres of land for the plantation.

The authorities said the first field was discovered by the investigating team in the Moss Landing area on April 22 and the rest were found between May 22 and May 25. A small number of plants have been kept as evidence and the rest destroyed with the help of the California National Guard.

John Thornburg, a commander for the Sheriff’s Office, said that the team  relied on the expert opinion of a botanist to confirm that the plant being inspected by them was actually poppy. He also referred to the situation as unique since neither the plant is native nor is its cultivation legal in California. Thornburg said even though some people suggested that the plants were not grown for any immoral purposes, opium poppy cultivation is illegal in the state. He said the Sheriff’s Office had enough reasons to validate that the plants were  not there for aesthetic purpose.

So far no arrests have been made in this case as the investigation is still in progress to determine the real owners and cultivators. Thornburg also said that while there is a rise in the opium and heroin use in the country, these poppies do not appear to be entering the previously confiscated drugs.

A similar incident was reported recently in North Carolina where the sheriff’s deputy had found an opium poppy field. The poppies were estimated to be worth around $500 million. Besides, multiple firearms and ammunition were also seized. As per reports, over 2,000 pounds of opium poppies – to make opium, morphine and heroin – from nearly 1 acre of land near the town of Claremont, some 40 miles north of Charlotte.

Success against heroin smuggling

Meanwhile, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced on May 31, 2018 that Shahbaz Khan, the head of a Pakistani drug trafficking network, pled guilty before a Manhattan Federal Court in a case of conspiracy to smuggle a huge consignment of heroin for distribution in New York City. He was taken into custody by Liberian authorities on December 1, 2016 and subsequently extradited to the U.S.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said: “Shahbaz Khan boasted to an undercover officer about his ability to smuggle drugs anywhere in the world without detection. The DEA put the lie to that boast. Khan has now admitted to conspiring and attempting to import massive quantities of heroin into the United States, and this international narcotics kingpin is now a convicted felon awaiting what could be a substantial sentence.”

Heroin is lethal

Heroin has earned notoriety as one of the most abused drugs in the U.S. Available in various forms like white or brown powder, black sticky substance or solid black chunks, the drug is commonly abused by injecting, sniffing or snorting to attain immediate feelings of pleasure. But it is important to know that heroin abuse is claiming thousands of lives every year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis of 2015-2016 stats, heroin-related overdose death rate in the country increased by 19.5 percent. Therefore, it is important to help people develop a clear understanding of the catastrophic effects of the drug so that they may take necessary precautionary measures and mitigate the risk of indulging in them in the first place.

If you or someone you know is addicted to heroin and requires help of an addiction help center that can offer treatment for heroin addiction, contact Sovereign Health right away. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 901-9644 or chat online with a representative to know about the best heroin addiction treatment plans offered at our facility.