Doda drug bust: Opium poppy plants seized in Surrey
A police raid on a business in a busy Surrey shopping centre on Wednesday has seized several boxes of opium poppy pods used to produce "doda" a powder also known as "poor man's heroin" that is usually mixed with tea or hot water to serve as a stay-awake drug.
The Surrey RCMP Drug Section spokesman described it as a large industrial scale milling and manufacturing operation.
One investigator called it "a very busy commercial enterprise."
Officers seized hundreds of pounds of poppy pods and finished product.
Police also seized equipment used to make doda by crushing and grinding the opium poppy pod into a fine powder.
The exact location of the raid was not disclosed.
Four people were arrested at the scene and later released.
A Surrey RCMP statement said consumption of doda is particularly prevalent among South Asians who work the truck driving and taxi industry.
The estimated value of the seized material hasn't been determined, but based on estimates from other police forces, it cold be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Surrey RCMP are forwarding the seized product to a Health Canada Lab to confirm the presence of drugs that are prohibited under laws that ban the production, possession or sale of opium and its derivatives.
Charges are expected once the lab results are known.
Doda used to be in a legal grey area because of uncertainty over whether it actually contained opium.
However tests on doda seized in Eastern Canada have tested positive for codeine and morphine.
Police are warning doda users that it does in fact contain quantities of opiates, making it an illegal substance, adding members of the public should be aware that Doda is addictive and has the potential to be harmful.
Police agencies and departments in Ontario and Alberta, along with the Canadian Border Services Agency have made large seizures of doda in recent months.
The Surrey bust is believed to be the first large scale seizure of the drug in B.C.
A doda primer, courtesy RCMP:
Physical and cognitive effects of poppy powder have been reported to include quick, intense feelings of pleasure, followed by a sense of well-being and a calm drowsiness; red eyes; slurred speech; mood swings; constipation; impotence; body aches; loss of appetite and ability to concentrate; potential breathing problems and addiction.
By Black Press - Surrey North Delta Leader
Published: November 19, 2009 2:00 PM