Man Inadvertently Reveals $500 Million Grow-Op to Police

Written on Behalf of Affleck & Barrison LLP

Police in North Carolina recently made a massive opium bust, after being tipped off by the grower of the opium-producing poppies himself.

“I guess you are here for the opium”

Police visited the property of Cody Xiong as part of a routine, warrantless “knock and talk” after receiving a tip on a matter unrelated to drugs.

When Xiong opened the door and saw the police officer, he said “I guess you are here for the opium”, inadvertently flagging the existence of a massive grow-op to the officer. Following Xiong’s outburst, police discovered approximately $500 million worth of opium-producing poppy plants growing on more than one acre of his property. The crop was planted in neat rows and was obscured by trees.

Had Xiong not spilled the beans, it is unlikely that his grow-op would have been discovered at all. The small town where this drug drama has unfolded is a small rural settlement with a population of roughly 1,400. Xiong himself lived at the dead-end of a remote gravel road in the foothills of the town.

Xiong’s full crop will have to be weighed before authorities can determine the exact dollar value of the plants, but investigators have estimated that there were approximately 2000 pounds of poppy plants, with a value of about $500 million dollars. The investigators believe that the plants were going to be shipped elsewhere to be processed into heroin. The investigation into Xiong’s operation is still ongoing and involves the cooperation of DEA agents.

Xiong has been charged with manufacturing a Schedule II drug, and with trafficking in opium, both of which are felonies. He was arrested and released on $45,000 bail.

Drug Charges in Canada

We’ve blogged about serious drug charges in the past. As in the States, and in most of the world, a number of drugs, including heroin, are illegal in Canada.

Drugs are categorized into various schedules under the federal Controlled Drugs & Substances Act. In Canada, heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug, along with cocaine, morphine, and a number of others.

There are a number of drug offences in Canada, including possession, drug trafficking, and drug importing/exporting. The severity of any charges will depend on the type and quantity of the drug in question, as well as other facts specific to the circumstances.

Beyond just the danger of imprisonment, including life in prison in some cases, a drug conviction can have a significant impact on your life. Every drug conviction, even a minor one, will appear on your criminal record. This can significantly affect your ability to travel outside of Canada, or your ability to get certain jobs.

If you have any questions about drug charges or any other criminal defence matter, please contact Affleck & Barrison online or at 905-404-1947. We have 24-hour phone service for your convenience. Trust our experienced lawyers to handle your drug matter with diligence and expertise.