Police bust poppy grow-op in Calgary backyard

A raid on a Calgary backyard has uncovered what appears to be the city's only known opium poppy grow-op.

A raid on a Calgary backyard has uncovered what appears to bethe city'sonly known opium poppygrow-op.

Police on Thursday found 1,000 opium poppy plants growing under a clear tarp in a Calgary backyard. ((CBC))

A 62-year-old man was charged with production and possession for the purpose of trafficking after police raided the northeast home on Thursday, finding 1,000 opiumpoppy plants growing under a clear tarp, worth an estimated $40,000.

"It's something very unusual for this part of the country," said Calgary police Insp. Luch Berti. "I've never seen anything remotely similar to this."

The poppieswould need to have been imported illegally and are a type listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Berti said police investigated to make sure the poppies weren't the typical kind that grows in backyards, even calling in an expert from the University of Calgary.

Police said more charges are pending.

Opium from the the poppy plantcan beused to extract drugs such ascodeineand morphine, and can also be converted to heroin.

Duty Insp. Kevan Stuartsaid that since this is the first bust of its kind, it's too soon to draw any links to international dealers or organized crime.