Mexican opium farmers expand plots to supply U.S. heroin boom

Mexican government seizures of opium and eradication of poppy plantations have skyrocketed in recent years
Associated Press (US)
Monday, February 2, 2015

Red and purple blossoms with fat, opium-filled bulbs blanket the remote creek sides and gorges of the Filo Mayor mountains in the southern state of Guerrero. The multibillion-dollar Mexican opium trade starts here, with poppy farmers so poor they live in wood-plank, tin-roofed shacks with no indoor plumbing. Once smaller-scale producers of low-grade black tar, Mexican drug traffickers are now refining opium paste into high-grade white heroin and flooding the world’s largest market for illegal drugs, using the distribution routes they built for marijuana and cocaine. The price for the relatively low-quality marijuana the farmers used to grow at lower elevations has fallen, possibly because of the legalization and medical use of higher-quality U.S. marijuana.