Police make largest bust of opium poppy in Alta. history
Edmonton police said they've made the largest opium poppy seizure in Alberta history at a south side business.
An Edmonton store owner has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking after police intercepted a shipment of opium poppy heads.
The Metro Edmonton Gang and Drug Section were alerted last week that a package containing opium poppy was on its way to Edmonton from Mississauga, Ontario. Undercover officers conducted a controlled delivery to Neelkamal Indian Grocery & Movies, located on 27 Avenue and 48 Street.
52-year-old Ravi Mohan Jolly was arrested, and a search warrant resulted in the seizure of 160 pounds (72.5 kilograms) of opium poppy heads and 13 ounces (368.5 grams) of dried poppy head, called "Doda".
Doda is typically used to brew a powerful opium tea and investigators claim it gives all the same effects of morphine or codeine.
"We believe that the opium poppy originated from Afghanistan or Pakistan or that particular region of the world," said Insp. Greg Preston with the EPS Organized Crime Branch.
Police said the drug is not commonly known to them and it's something they are just learning about.
"Being very frank, this is new to the police certainly new to the Edmonton Police Service, so we're learning about the effects, it has the same effects as any of the other opiates one takes," said Preston.
Jolly's neighbour told CTV News he's lived beside the man for the past decade. Ranjit Randhawa said he was shocked to hear the news of his neighbour's arrest.
"He's a nice guy and a nice neighbourhood and no problems," said Randhawa.
Police said it's not likely that this is the only shipment that's made its way into Edmonton.
"We do certainly believe there are other distributors," said Preston.
With files from CTV's David Ewasuk