Police in North Carolina discovered a field of opium poppies worth an estimated $500 million after the man growing them assumed that officers had already uncovered the operation and offered a premature confession.
Catawba County deputies appeared at the door of Cody Xiong, 37, to follow up on an unrelated complaint, the Washington Post reports. But when he opened the door Xiong ventured: “I guess you’re here for the opium.”
They weren’t, but soon found what he was alluding to: over an acre of poppy plants aligned in rows in Xiong’s backyard.
Investigators believe the plants were being harvested in Xiong’s isolated rural lot, before being shipped elsewhere. Opium poppies are used to make opium, morphine, codeine and heroin, and police estimated that the haul consisted of over 2,000 pounds of the plant.
Xiong was arrested at the site and charged with manufacturing a Schedule II drug and trafficking in opium, both felonies. He was later released from jail after posting $45,000 bail.