The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office found on Tuesday an entire field of poppy plants, which are used in manufacturing opium, morphine and heroin near the town of Claremont, 40 miles north of Charlotte.
The plants found stands at an estimated value of whopping $500 million. However, the plants are yet to be weighted, authorities report.
“All total investigators removed and seized over 2,000 pounds of opium poppy plants found growing on the property along with multiple firearms and ammunition,” the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to NBC News.
“One of our narcotics investigators came to the house looking for something else,” Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid told the Hickory Daily Record. “When he knocked on the door, the guys said, ‘I guess you’re here about the opium.’”
The plants were set in corn-like rows on an acre of a field behind a home on Poultry Road.
According to the Daily Record, Cody Xiong, 37, who lives nearby the field was arrested and charged with manufacture and drug dealing alongside two other felonies.
The opium poppy plant fields are reportedly this is the second field of this sort found in California.
“This is the second one in the nation,” Sheriff Coy Reid told the Hickory Daily Record.
In addition, Xiong is accused of conducting cockfighting operation, as the investigators have found several chickens with unusual wounds, officials said. The chickens found were confiscated, officials said. However, Xiong was not charged in connection with the chicken found.
Officials believe that the process of opium manufacture is not held near the field; However, they are sent to somewhere else where the manufacturing process takes place.
“The plants are being harvested here, and sent somewhere else where the opium is being produced from the plant,” Captain Reid said told WBTV.
He was purportedly released after posting $45,000 bail, according to NBC.