US CBP Officers Seize Nearly 7 Pounds of Opium Poppy Pods destined to Middletown, Delaware

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted a shipment of opium poppy pods in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday that was destined to an address in Middletown, Del.

Officers inspected an express delivery shipment, which consisted of three boxes shipped from the United Kingdom manifested as “Dried Table Decorations.” Inside the boxes, CBP officers discovered white plastic bags that each contained poppy pods. The poppy pods weighed a combined three kilograms, or seven pounds, 10 ounces.

In May, Wilmington CBP officers intercepted a 10-pound shipment of poppy pods destined to Dover, Del., that also arrived from the U.K.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, opium is a highly addictive non-synthetic narcotic. Opium abuse may lead to severe physical and psychological dependence and can lead to an overdose. Morphine and codeine are naturally occurring opiates in opium poppies.

Some consumers illegally import opium poppy pods to brew into a tea. The poppy plant, including poppy pods, poppy straw, and poppy straw concentrate in either liquid, solid, or powder form are controlled under Schedule II of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Poppy tea is consumed by users for its narcotic, analgesic, antidiarrheal, or psychoactive effects. However, according to the Department of Justice, some users have died from using poppy tea.

Only licensed entities may lawfully import opium poppies and only from legitimate sources in regulated countries. For example, the pharmaceutical industry lawfully imports and extracts opioid alkaloids from mature dried plants for medical purposes.

CBP officers seized the poppies for destruction.

“The opioid epidemic remains a very real and a very serious health concern. Customs and Border Protection officers serve on our nation’s frontlines and we will continue to intercept dangerous imports, including these opioid-based poppy pods that could potentially hurt people in our communities,” said Erik Kelling, Port Director for CBP’s Port of Wilmington, Del.