Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., Sept. 30
Opium poppy plantation found near Tecate, Baja California
First poppy plantation found this year in Baja California despite rise in national production
According to the Baja California state police, an opium poppy plantation was discovered near Tecate in a rural area. Few details on the find were released, besides that the plantation was located in a mountainous area and was found during a helicopter tour. The plantation is the first of its kind discovered in 2013.
Despite few finds in the state of Baja California, opium poppy plantations are on the rise across Mexico. According to Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense, opium poppy passed marijuana as the most widely grown illegal plant in Mexico between 2007 and 2012. By the end of 2012, opium poppy was believed to occupy 40% more land than marijuana.
Experts have attested several factors to the rise of opium in Mexico, such as marijuana prices dropping and the increased use of black tar heroin in the United States. Opium is used to make several narcotics, such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. Black tar heroin is a cruder form of pure heroin which is cheap to make in large drug labs.
Most of Mexico’s opium is believed to be produced in western and southern Mexico. The largest producer as a state has typically been Guerrero in recent years. According to Attorney General’s Office of Mexico, Baja California’s first plantation was discovered in 2009.
Despite increased production in Mexico, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports Afghanistan still produces the majority of the world’s opium at around 64%. Preliminary counts predict Mexico to currently produce around 9% of the global market.
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