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Small-Town American Farmer Totally Thought He Could Hide Acre Of Opium From Authorities. He Was Wrong

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A North Carolina man was arrested Tuesday for cultivating a poppy field with an estimated value of $500 million.

A tipster led Catawba County deputies to get a search warrant, seize the field, and arrest local farmer Cody Xiong. Police charged him the same day with manufacture and trafficking by possession.

The acre-size poppy field was located near Claremont, a Catawba County town of 1,300 about 40 miles north of Charlotte.

Xiong’s field was only the second large poppy field to be discovered in America, Sheriff Coy Reid told the Hickory Daily Record. He said that samples were sent to a state lab to confirm the plants are in fact opium poppy.

“This is unbelievable … We’ve been out here for about an hour pulling plants, and we’ve not made a dent in it yet,” said Reid.

The sheriff said only one other opium poppy plant field has been found – in California – in the U.S. this year.

Officials believe the plants were harvested on Xiong’s farm, but were transferred off the property and processed elsewhere.

“Right now the crisis in North Carolina is opioids,” Reid said.

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