Border agents in Calgary have seized $14.5 million worth of opium poppies, the largest such bust in Canadian history.
The poppy pods were discovered in two separate commercial containers awaiting clearance for entry into Canada at a commercial inspection facility in Calgary, said Lisa White, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, on Friday.
On Sept. 22, CBSA officers inspected a container with 12 pallets declared as "dried grasses." Inside they found 2,700 kilograms of poppy pods. They became suspicious of another shipment of 26 pallets the next day that described its contents as "dried flowers." It contained 4,500 kilograms of the pods.
CBSA called the two discoveries the largest poppy-pod seizure in the agency's history.
The shipments had come in from the United States on tractor-trailers and were destined for somewhere in Western Canada, said White.
She said the containers were stopped in Calgary for examination, but that does not necesarily mean they were destined for the city.
A drug made from opium poppies is gaining popularity among Indo-Canadians in Calgary.
Doda is created when the poppy heads are ground and made into a tea. It produces a quick high, followed by a sense of well-being. The drug is being sold in flea markets, food shops and flower stores in some northeast Calgary neighbourhoods.
But the opium poppy plant and its derivatives, with the exception of poppy seeds, are illegal to possess in Canada.