Monterey County deputies break up opium poppy grow

Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies destroyed thousands of opium poppy plants over the weekend that were being grown in a field in Moss Landing.

Last week, sheriff’s investigators learned of the grow site and confirmed that the plants were indeed Papaver Somniferum, commonly known as opium poppies. Deputies then destroyed about one acre of poppies.

The grow contained approximately 27,000 opium poppy plants and another 16,500 harvested plants. Sheriff’s officials say straws from the harvested plants can still be used to produce various types of illicit opiate products.

If left untouched, the grow would have produced a yield of approximately 13 pounds of raw opium, which could then be converted into slightly less than a pound and a half of heroin, according to the sheriff’s office. A pound and a half of heroin has a street value of approximately $45,000.

Officials say the process of cultivating poppies for heroin production can be repeated on the same plot of land for up to three cycles a year.

The sheriff’s office has not identified any suspects in the case. However, it says the case will be forwarded to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution of those involved in the operation.

Sheriff’s officials say the case shows their commitment to battling the opioid epidemic that both local communities and the nation are facing. Investigators ask that anyone who has information about the case contact the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.