900,000 opium poppies destroyed in Cajamarca


Counter narcotics police destroyed over 900,000 opium poppies in the highlands of Cajamarca yesterday.  Following a tipoff on their DEA-funded public telephone line, officers from Lima and the local state prosecutor walked six hours from the nearest road to reach the plantation, where the plants were camouflaged amongst maize and quinoa. 

In a total area of twenty hectares, they found a large number of mature plants up to six feet tall, many of them showing signs of a recent harvest of raw opium, as well as a nursery growing up thousands more seedlings. The Celendin region of Cajamarca is a national center for opium poppy cultivation due to the good growing conditions, poor access (deterring inspections) and dense cloud cover that hinders detection by aerial and satellite photography. Last year over a million plants were eradicated in the region, but it seems that cultivation is on the rise.

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