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This comes from TIME magazine, June 30, 2003, page 14.
LOOK OUT FOR BEARS--AND OPIUM FIELDS
Though U.S. Park and Forest Sevice Rangers are getting used to finding meth labs in places such as Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest, and pot farms everywhere from Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forest to California's Sequoia National Park, last week's bust was a first. A hiker had discovered 40,000 lavender-hued opium poppies growing in the Sierra National Forest, south of Yosemite. The plants, enough to yield 40lbs of raw opium, were in a clearing on a 3,000-ft.-high slope scorched by a forest fire two years ago. When law-enforcement officers burst onto the scene, three men in comouflage outfits were scoring the poppy pods and squeezing out the brown juice. They fled in the woods. "This is an alarming new developement," said Forest Service spokesman Wallace Mathes. Even before the raid, underfunded federal agencies had been fighting a losing battle against the problem of outlawed drugs growing on public lands. Federal officials are especially concerned about public safety in California's parks and forests because heavily armed Mexican crime networks have planted vast marijuana plantations in remote areas. Did the opium farm represent a new product line--the first step in a domestic heroin-processing operation? Unlikely. As is turned out, the three men found at the scene were Asian. (No one has yet been arrested; one suspect, who had a brown substance on his hands and scrathes on his face, was detained nearby but released because of insufficient evidence.) Law-enforcement officials believe the Sierra Forest opium was meant for smoking, a habit most prevalent amoung Southeast Asians, who in recent years have flocked to Fresno--40 miles from the site--and to other central California communities. -By Margot Roosevelt
I dunno...it takes a LOT of poppies to get one kilo of opium. I mean a LOT. The Afghani fields you see on TV will only yeild about 150-200 Kilos each and they have plant #'s into the 100's of thousands.
Good read though...if they'd just legalize shit they wouldn't have to worry about heavliy armed bands of growers.
-------------------- Keep your crack and your LSD, I'm snorting something that God gave me....and it smells like LOVE!