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Poppy cultivation in North Carolina part of opioid crisis

The sheriff of Catawba County blamed the opioid crisis in the state for the field of opium poppies discovered by his deputies. The sheriff's department spent a day removing plants from the field that was close to one acre in size. Although the department sent plant samples to a state laboratory to confirm their identity, the sheriff had no doubt that they were the plant from which opium and heroin are derived.

An agent from the Drug Enforcement Agency said that the field in Catawba County off Poultry Lane represented only the second field of poppies found in the nation. The property showed no signs of drug manufacturing, and a law enforcement agent speculated that the plants were being sent to another location for processing.

A tip about the field prompted the sheriff's department to get a search warrant for the property. One person was arrested and charged drug manufacturing and trafficking. Authorities plan to continue their investigation of the opium growing operation.

A person arrested for drug offenses could ask a criminal defense attorney for representation. An attorney might explain the meaning and potential penalties of the drug charges, which could help the defendant understand the situation. Advice from an attorney might allow the defendant to make a decision about whether to enter a guilty plea, pursue a plea bargain or go to trial. In an effort to get charges reduced or dropped, an attorney might challenge the validity of evidence or the conduct of law enforcement. Violations of the person's rights might eliminate evidence and weaken the prosecutor's case.

Source: WCNC, "NC authorities make $500M opium poppy bust", May 23, 2017

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