CLAREMONT, N.C. (WCNC) - Catawba County deputies seized an estimated $500 million worth of opium poppies in what's being called a historic bust.
Detectives said they found the plants spread across a half-acre adjacent to a Claremont home on Tuesday morning.
A resident in the house, Cody Xiong, was arrested and charged with manufacturing a schedule II controlled substance and trafficking opium or heroin.
Opium poppies are used to make some of the world's most addictive drugs, including heroin and opium.
Captain Jason Reid said it's the first bust of its kind in North Carolina history.
"It's very intimidating," he said. "I was overwhelmed just like the rest of the investigators when we came out here today. We weren't expecting anything this size."
Captain Reid said they came to the property last week after receiving a tip for a completely different crime.
He said investigators noticed the plants, and they consulted with experts at N.C. State who helped confirm their dangerous nature.
Captain Reid believed the plants were grown on the property and transported to another location where the plants' opium was extracted.
"We've made an impact somewhere; not necessarily in this community but another community," he said.
The Sheriff's Office has said the investigation is ongoing.