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OfflinemotamanM
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Opium plantation found in Sierra Nevada
    #1650509 - 06/21/03 09:57 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apus_story.asp?category=1110&slug=Opium%20Plantation

Friday, June 20, 2003 ? Last updated 2:34 a.m. PT

Opium plantation found in Sierra Nevada

By BRIAN MELLEY
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Tens of thousands of opium poppies have been seized in the Sierra Nevada, the first time the drug-producing plants have been found in a national forest in California, officials said.

No arrests were made after the 40,000-plant garden was discovered, although a suspect was questioned, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Sue Exline.

A hiker happened upon the plants Wednesday in a fire-ravaged area of the Sierra National Forest that has been home to illegal marijuana gardens in the past, Exline said.

When officers arrived, three men dressed in camouflage fled into a steep, rugged section of the forest above North Fork, about 45 miles northeast of Fresno. The forest borders the south side of Yosemite National Park.

Authorities said the suspects had been slashing pods on the plants to release opium, a narcotic that can be smoked on its own and serves as the main ingredient in heroin.

There was no evidence the drug was to be used to make highly addictive heroin, which is a complex manufacturing process and is usually done in Mexico or Columbia, where most imported heroin originates.

Forest employees and narcotics officers pulled the plants from the ground Thursday and Exline said they will be incinerated.



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InvisibleTinMan
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Registered: 10/01/02
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Re: Opium plantation found in Sierra Nevada [Re: motaman]
    #1650677 - 06/21/03 12:15 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Authorities said the suspects had been slashing pods on the plants to release opium, a narcotic that can be smoked on its own and serves as the main ingredient in heroin.




I don't think they know what they're talking about... yet, how stupid can people be to keep growing illegal plants in national forests and parks. This happens too many times. People will learn. You have better chances of growing in a field and not getting caught than in a national forest.


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OfflinemotamanM
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Re: Opium plantation found in Sierra Nevada [Re: motaman]
    #1658003 - 06/24/03 09:30 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/06/21/MN294286.DTL


Opium plantation in Sierra
Hiker finds 40,000 poppies in national forest

Stacy Finz, Chronicle Staff Writer Saturday, June 21, 2003









Officials have discovered 40,000 opium poppies in the Sierra National Forest, 35 miles northeast of Fresno, raising concerns that drug cartels may be looking at California's lush public lands to set up illicit farms.

U.S. Forest Service officials said this is largest crop of the narcotic- producing plants they have ever found in California. The plants are not typically grown in the United States, say federal drug agents. Opium poppies, which thrive in dry climates, are more commonly grown in Asia, Mexico and most recently in Colombia.

But agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration say that people in the heroin and opium trade may be following in the footsteps of marijuana growers, who in the past 10 years have set up multimillion-dollar plantations in remote areas of national parks and forests across the state. Those farms, some believed to be financed by Mexican drug cartels, often are guarded by armed men, posing a danger to hikers and hunters who wander off designated trails.

"At this point we just don't know what to make of it," said Gordon Taylor, the agent in charge of the DEA office in Sacramento. "We've never seen anything like this before. We're definitely going to assist the U.S. Forest Service in pursuing the case and continue to monitor the situation."


NONNATIVE VEGETATION
Earlier this week, a hiker discovered almost two acres of the 1-to-3-feet tall lavender poppies in a remote area of the national forest near the Madera County town of North Fork, about five miles south of Bass Lake. He knew instantly that the plants were not native and informed a ranger, said Sue Exline, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. When the ranger and a narcotics agent returned to the site Tuesday, they found three men wearing camouflage suits scoring the buds of the plants to remove the opium.

The men ran away. But later that day authorities talked to a man who they believe may have been part of the group. He was wandering alone on a dirt road and had brown opium stains on his hands, Exline said. But without enough evidence to make an arrest, she said, they had to let him go.


NOT LIKE POT PLOTS
She said that, unlike the marijuana farms, there was no sign that anyone was living on the poppy plantation. Matt Mathes, the spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service in California, said the poppy growers also appeared to be more environmentally sensitive than the marijuana farmers. Pot growers have been known to cut trees, use pesticides and divert water from neighboring creeks and streams for irrigation. The poppies had been planted on a south-facing slope that had been cleared of vegetation by a fire in 2001, and any man-made damage to the area appeared to be minor, according to Mathes.

All the plants have been cleared and are being tested in a DEA laboratory. Taylor said it is unclear whether the growers planned to use the opium to be processed into heroin or to be used raw. DEA agents are aware of opium being imported into Fresno and Sacramento from Southeast Asia. Taylor said some people in the Central Valley smoke opium in pipes or inhale the fumes from a trench of tin foil, known on the street as "chasing the dragon."


FOUR POUNDS OF HEROIN
The 40,000 plants found in the Sierra Nevada could have produced 40 pounds of raw opium or 4 pounds of heroin, he said. A pound of heroin sells wholesale for between $16,000 and $18,000. He said a retail gram goes for between $50 to $100 a gram. Taylor said the DEA doesn't know what opium sells for today, but in 1999 it could go for as much as $15,000 a pound.

Opium poppies once were widely grown throughout the United States and used in medicines. But a law passed in 1942 made it illegal to grow the plant domestically.

Larry Johnson, owner of North Fork's Gas--n--Stuf, a one-stop shopping store in the 135-year-old mill town, said the community is no stranger to the drug trade.

"We're nationally know for the marijuana grown here," he said, laughing. Although Johnson has a good sense of humor about it all, he is concerned that drugs are putting a black mark on the small hamlet. News of the opium poppies was all anyone was talking about Friday, Johnson said.

"I've seen what drugs have done to people," he said. "We're like Mayberry U. S.A. and we don't need the national news making us famous for something we don't want to be known for."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Opium poppy
Papaver somniferum

Height of mature plant: 2-5 feet

Leaves: 4 to 15 inches

Growth cycle: 120 days

Only pod produces the opium alkaloids

Planting season: After snow melt or early spring. Germinate at a temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Poppies grow best in sunny, temperate, warm climates with low humidity.

Drugs derived from opium poppies:

Heroin

Morphine

Codeine

Hydrocodone

Meperidine

Oxycodone

Fentanyl

Methadone

Propoxyphene

Pentazocine




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OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 23,480
Loc: Caribbean
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Re: Opium plantation found in Sierra Nevada [Re: motaman]
    #1658114 - 06/24/03 11:08 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Taylor said the DEA doesn't know what opium sells for today, but in 1999 it could go for as much as $15,000 a pound.




They don't know how much it sells for, but damnit, they know that the money goes to fund terrorism! What a load of...


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OfflineJameZTheNewbie
The Mahatma OfZalu

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 736
Loc: pass the gates of hell 2 ...
Last seen: 1 year, 10 months
Re: Opium plantation found in Sierra Nevada [Re: Seuss]
    #1658389 - 06/24/03 01:52 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

shit


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