July 21st, 2011
09:10 AM ET

Huge poppy seed cache confiscated in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan - Nearly half a million of pounds of opium poppy seeds have been confiscated in southwestern Afghanistan during a joint raid by NATO and Afghan National Security forces, officials said.

The operation took place Wednesday in the Delaram district of Nimroz province, which borders Iran.

The find represents the largest uncovered by Afghan and coalition forces this year, according to Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Seddiqi.

The opium poppy can be used to make heroin and other drugs, and is considered a staple of insurgent funding.

Afghanistan is considered the world's leading cultivator of opium poppy, ahead of Myanmar, according to a 2011 United Nations report.

The country accounts for 63% of the world's total areas under opium poppy cultivation, despite a smaller harvest last year due to an unspecified disease in opium plants.

Locally, one gram of heroin costs around $4, the U.N. reported. After the product is transported to illicit markets in the United States or northern Europe, the same amount is worth between $170 to $200 per gram.

In a separate operation in Kandahar province, security forces also uncovered 4,400 pounds (nearly 2,000 kilograms) of hashish and 33 pounds (15 kilograms) of ammonium nitrate, which can be used in fertilizers and as an explosive component.

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Filed under: Drug trade
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. John K

    We're going to need Four Billion bagels, quick!

    July 21, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Thank you – I was hoping someone would see the humor in this.

      July 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rob2tall

    this is much like marijuana.The tobacco giant Winston-Salem and RJ Reynolds both grow marijuana-lots of it-yet the feds raid mom n pop operations and deny that anyone has the right to grow it,yet the state of Mississippi has been growing pot for over 50 years-thousands of acres of it-for research?
    Its time for clarity-we spend billions of tax $$ to bust folks for what our Govt allows big business to do! Legalize it all-the serious tax funds will roll in and the idiots who abuse the hard drugs will od and that takes care of that issue

    July 21, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. rob2tall

    Oddly enough, our own CIA helped managed the production and exports of Opium during Vietnam-with covert agents in the region,and when Bush,Jr had us invade the region-production was the highest in 40 years...remember his dad was director of the CIA when the USA funded bin Laden to fight the USSR.WE are only getting part of the story.I suspect that the opium seized will be brought to market anyway..its a huge cash cow for whom ever gets their greedy hands on it-and what about the farmers who rely on its sales to feed their families?

    July 21, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. DUH

    So we found evidence that the #1 country of illegal trafficking of OPIUM has OPIUM.....
    Osama is DEAD, WHY ARE WE HERE? bring every single troop home and have nation build the United States. our transportation system is 3rd world now.

    July 21, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. gyvren

    I always wonder why news agencies fail to point out that opium is not just used for making heroin. Where the heck does everyone think all of our favorite drugs come from?? Oxycontin, Morphine, Vicodin, Methadone, Codeine, Oxycodone, Percocet, the list goes on and on. Big Pharm makes 'em and we keep eating them up.
    And where do we get our opium from to make all of these wonderful drugs? hmmmm...

    July 21, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • John K

      Tasmania

      July 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      None of the drugs you mentioned are made from poppies. They are all synthetic nowadays

      July 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Correct...except for Methadone which is a synthetic opioid that is not derived from the Papaver Somniforum (Opium Poppy)

      July 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Martoon

    The Headline should read "Einstein Bagels kaput: Poppy Seeds Seized"

    July 21, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. waylon

    Lots of drug abuse in the U.S...opium dens have been around forever..I'm for genetically changing the poppy plant ...just add a brain cell to it..that way the users will have something going for themselves...as far as the growers..probably wouldn't make a difference..remember when you were young and "Money" was the root to all "Evil"...What is the answer today??

    July 21, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • MrMe

      The answer is still money. Everyone is just distracted by the shiny objects dangled in front of them - like this one.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. IRONMIKE

    I wonder which generals got all this dope? I am sure it is not destroyed.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • citizenZ

      You are soooooooooooo right.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      What dope exactly? These are poppy seeds, not the mature plants themselves and definitely not any refined product. As several people below have noted this "bust" probably did nothing but affect the supply chain for a bunch of bagel shops.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Trigger

      Confiscated and handed over to the highest bidder down the road. These seeds will never see the incinerator, the local farmer is the only one who lost. Big pharma at its best- even in Afganistan huh!

      July 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • matrix

        this is funny because i watched it burn 🙂

        July 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GladesGoo

    Wow, 4,400 pounds of hash. Nowhere near as dangerous or toxic as heroin, and they probably destroyed all of it. Hell, hashish is safer to consume than alcohol. What a damn shame its illegal in the states. The US Govt should regulate and legalize its number one cash crop (mary jane, look it up, its a bigger market than corn in the US) - they could make HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS a year in just tax revenues on it, without a doubt, if you look up the numbers and use your brain you can easily find this out. Heck, they could even open up and create revenue and another good market for the people afghanistan to prosper off of. Put all the opium growers into marijuana growing/hash making and import that stuff into the states, thus making more tax monies for the USA. On top of that, we would cut the HUGE WASTE (beyond huge) of money on the drug eradication on marijuana, that for decades, has been proven a failure (drug war? never ends with cannabis... thats a fact)

    Good thing this month we got another state on the legalization of marijuana board... (16 states out of 50 now made it legal to possess). As soon as the fat cats controlling investments/banking get a clue and read a few books, they will continue to think like the rest of the misinformed, that marijuana,cannabis,weed,hash,etc is as bad as opium. That is hands down a false claim by

    July 21, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      Could you PLEASE run for President?!? Thanks!

      July 21, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • OregonTom

      If marjuana is legalized I doubt if much tax revenue will be generated. It is just too easy to grow in your back yard.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
      • Liam

        Easy, but most are lazy. Better indoors anyway. Can you imagine your neighbors not pulling the males and messing up your crops. Sometimes I feel like it being illegal keeps male pollen from floating into our guerrilla farmer's farms. I'm not for prohibition in any since, but just pointing out this catch 22.

        July 21, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
      • D

        This is a weak argument. You can brew your own beer if you want but most just go down to the local beer store and buy it instead. I would expect things to be very similar. Some would grow their own b/c to them it is a hobby. Some would throw some seeds in the back yard one year just b/c they could. But most would just put it on the counter next to their sixer of Bud and pay the tax. What would throw off the estimates more would be the reduced prices brought about by the ease of access to the supply of product as well as the reduced cost associated with avoiding the police.

        July 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liam

      I agree there's a lot of money to be made from taxes, but how much money are governments making from it being illegal. Prisons certainly make some fat cash. Police definitely get bonuses. They know where the money is!

      July 21, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
      • Russ

        Do you have any idea where this money comes from? It's all overhead the state/TAXPAYER funds! You have no idea what you're talking about.

        July 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FugginMorons

    America is the biggest drug pusher in the world. This article is BS propaganda.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • True

      You're right but the pharmeceutical lobby pas huge dollars to protect their investment. The majority of "users" in the US are placed on these drugs through advertising on TV.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • GladesGoo

      uhhh, they have been growing opium in Afghanistan before America was even discovered by anyone, or before America was even called America. Get a clue before acting like a know it all.... your name is fitting besides the S at the end

      July 21, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
      • Mel

        And where do you actually think that the majority of all of those drugs are sold? Why do you think there are drug tunnels built for drug cartel to bring them into the US? DUH!

        July 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AC180

    Will this effect the bakery business?

    July 21, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Random

      I was going to make muffins with that! No food for you!

      July 21, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. Barry

    (Matthieu Aikins, The Master of Spin Boldak, Harper’s Magazine, Dec., 2009, p. 53)

    …”forty mon, or two metric tons, of opium once a month from the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak. The drugs were carried by a convoy…into Iran. Although the police in Afghanistan and Pakistan were bribed to give the convoy safe passage, the Iranian police were not….Sikander…was making $125,000 to $250,000 in profits each trip.”
    (6,900 tons of opium were being trafficked from Afghanistan in 2009)

    July 21, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nelson

    Just bring the troops back. Send the DEA.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • sue

      Agreed!!

      July 21, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Javier Torres

      Nelson! That is a GREAT idea! You are absolutely right. Send those cowards who wait until a dealer makes millions off the crime, misery, and suffering of addicts and THEN raid the home, office, etc. Now, you have it all in one BIG package. You have drugs, money, possessions, and equally important, you have another photo-op and "proof" of the value and efficiency of this most criminal of agencies. Bring those brave souls who put their lives on the line daily to protect American interests and start rebuilding their lives as I am sure war changes a person in a negative way, some to the point of suicide, and honor their patriotism by sending in replacements who deserve to feel what's it's like to truly fight this absurd "Drug War".

      July 21, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan from Chicago, IL

        This war has to do with good and evil!

        July 23, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liam

      +1

      July 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Barry

    …”forty mon, or two metric tons, of opium once a month from the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak. The drugs were carried by a convoy…into Iran. Although the police in Afghanistan and Pakistan were bribed to give the convoy safe passage, the Iranian police were not….Sikander…was making $125,000 to $250,000 in profits each trip.”
    (6,900 tons of opium were being trafficked from Afghanistan in 2009)

    Source: Matthieu Aikins’s shocking article in Harper’s Magazine (Dec., 2009), about the multi-billion dollar opium trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and how the governments and militaries of these two countries tolerate, condone, assist, protect, and work for and with the opium traffickers.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. vinny

    If i see one more dumb comment about NATO stealing the plant and selling it to finance the war im going to vomit. do you know we already use the seed to make pain killers. Its so insanely cheap to produce, we dont need to steal it from the cavemen. Not everything in life is a conspiracy you America hating wastes of space

    July 21, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Looks like you forgot to take your meds again vinnie

      July 21, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
      • GladesGoo

        Looks like your mom forgot to order your hooked on phonics book when you were a kid... there's a Y at the end of vinny's name, not IE. 😉

        July 21, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  16. fparana

    "Big Poppy..."? I figured this was a baseball story.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • DUH

      Big PoppiRoids

      July 21, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  17. big mike

    How hard can it be to introduce a disease or a gene modification to the poppy and destroy the crop before the drug is produced? I think that is the simplest way to end the problem, although someone will be out the money they make from the drugs...

    July 21, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeSixpack

      Ahahhahahha... the only thing wrong with that is the US and NATO are watching over the crop for the warlords and getting their share of the drugs..

      July 21, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      There are also many legal uses of the plant.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
      • Barry

        ...and yet the magnitude of the human suffering caused by the illegal production and trafficking of opium and its derivatives is staggering.

        July 21, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Ronald Hussein Reagan

      Bad, bad, idea – so bad I can anticipate the unanticipated consequences. Don't mess with mother nature.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  18. capnmike

    "unspecified disease in opium plants."...this disease, whatever it is, needs to be developed, strengthened, and sprayed over all the poppy fields.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • GladesGoo

      That's all we need... another superbug type strain of death that is killing all life it touches. That way we can get more moronic scientists to develop even more man-made chemicals, with even more chemical compounds that cause cancer. That way, in time it creates an even newer "super-superbug" that cannot be stopped. Thus continuing the nonstop cycle of bs man-made nonsense that screws over our planet......

      July 21, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
      • MrMe

        Very well-said.

        July 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Trigger

      Hmmm. Agent Orange comes to mind. Kill anything that grows. Including our troops. Nice idea. NOT.

      July 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Chinese_own_America

    Oh poor Americans, you are not going to receive your drugs from the middle east, too bad now you have to keep PACO ad JULIO as your drug dealers, bunch of addicts.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Ma Ying-Jeou

      Ahhh, yes, but those Americans have a far higher average standard of living compared to the hell hole that is China. I should know. Enjoy your rice.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
      • Barry Obama

        Hey Jeou, we need to get together soon and talk F-16's, so we can make certain that you have all you need to keep those red chink communists in check. Call my people and we'll get it setup.

        July 21, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • china is an idiot

      dude your just an idiot, get off moms teet and grow up.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Go back to eating your rice paddy boy

      July 21, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      What a narrow view you have! Not all Americans are addicts. I for one am GLAD they got busted!

      Now take away our cheese burgers and there is a problem.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  20. aflyer guy

    This is what is wrong with these people and their values! What a messed up hell hole it is, but our country wants to turn it into "little america"!! Nuke the place, and their heroin crops – problem solved. Then all the troops can come home!!

    July 21, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeSixpack

      What an arrogant stupid moron you are.. "Nuke the place than bring the troops home..???" Arrogant american moron answer to everything they cannot buy, defeat or control.. nuke the place... You better wish China is not as arrogant and stupid as you are ...retard

      July 21, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • GladesGoo

      So FIRST we nuke it, THEN the troops come home? Wow, if I didn't shake my head at your asinine, redneckish type "nuke em all" comment - the logic you use REALLY IS MORONIC. Please leave my country, you are a disgrace.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • texan

      Nuke the place then bring the troops home? So you want to nuke the troops? Their values? How old are you? 11

      July 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      "Their" values are almost as bad as yours. Nuclear weapons are the devil, and I think you must work for him.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  21. steeve-o

    Suddenly I'm craving a bagel with cream cheese...

    July 21, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Random

      I said no food for you!

      July 21, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  22. Katie

    Maybe they were making bagels... Just say'n.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • scruffyduffy

      funny.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |