Photo: Opium plant
Mexican authorities seized a ton of opium seeds they found aboard a ship in the Gulf coast port of Veracruz, the government said Wednesday.
The contraband was discovered on Monday, when navy personnel and customs agents carried out a “physical inspection of the container that had been unloaded from a boat coming from Turkey,” the navy said in a statement.
The search turned up 40 sacks containing 988.9 kilos (2,178 pounds) of opium seeds, the statement said.
The navy offered no information on the sender of the consignment or the intended recipient in Mexico.
Opium poppies - the raw material of heroin - are cultivated in at least five of Mexico’s 31 states: Guerrero, Michoacan, Durango, Chihuahua and Sinaloa.
A 2007 report by Mexico’s Superior Agrarian Tribunal found that 30 percent of the country’s arable land was in the hands of drug traffickers or their operatives.
The tribunal’s presiding judge, Ricardo Garcia Villalobos, who said the 8 million hectares (nearly 20 million acres) then planted with marijuana and opium poppies was equal to the amount of land covered by Mexico’s main food crop, maize.