May 15 (UPI) -- Deputies found an acre of opium poppies being farmed in the open in a small California town, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office announced Monday.
The poppies were found near a suburban road in Moss Landing, Calif., located about 15 miles from Monterey. Deputies found more than 43,00 plants, of which 16,500 had already been harvested..
"The yield from this cultivation would be approximately thirteen pounds of raw opium, which could then be converted into heroin," the Monterey Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "The yield from this process would be a little less than a pound and a half of heroin. The street value of a pound and a half of heroin is approximately $45,000."
Sheriff's deputies said they destroyed the poppy harvest.
Suspects in the case have not been identified. The investigation is ongoing.
Although most of the heroin in the United States comes from opium that is grown abroad, including Afghanistan and Mexico, poppy is illegally grown domestically, as well.
Last week, police in Taylorsville, N.C. arrested two people for allegedly growing 2,000 poppy plants.
And last year, also in North Carolina, police accidentally uncovered a poppy field with enough plants to yield $500 million of heroin.