MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — Police on the Peninsula Friday gave details on what is considered one of the largest seizures of opium poppy pods ever in the state, resulting in the arrest of two Mountain View residents earlier this week.
According to Mountain View police, in October of last year, detectives received a tip that 34-year-old Mountain View resident Jasvir Singh was processing and selling opium poppy pods out of his home on the 200 block of Monroe Avenue.
Singh and his wife, 45-year-old Donna Santo, were allegedly importing large quantities of the poppy, known as papaver somniferum, from overseas. The pair was storing the poppy shipments in lockers, eventually grinding the pods into a fine powder that would then be sold for the purpose of brewing a highly potent opium tea.
The tea has several adverse effects, include nausea, extremely slowed breathing and vomiting. According to police, in high doses, the tea can be lethal.
“It’s extremely potent,” Katie Nelson with Mountain View Police told KPIX 5. “Typically, if it’s used daily, it takes one to two weeks to become entirely addicted.”
Over the next couple of months, officers investigated the claims and collected evidence on the case. On Tuesday, detectives served a search warrant at Singh’s home.
During the course of the search warrant, detectives found roughly 50 pounds of opium poppy pods inside the home, along with over $30,000 in cash. A second warrant was executed to search lockers that Singh had been using to store the shipments of the opium poppy pods.
In that search, detectives discovered nearly 4,000 pounds of opium poppy pods with a street value of $400,000. Singh and Santo were subsequently arrested on charges of possession of controlled substances for sale, a felony, as well as for child endangerment.
“We’re all very proud of the outstanding detective work involved in putting together this long and complex investigation,” said Capt. Chris Hsiung said in a statement regarding the arrests. “We take great pride in proactively keeping our streets safe and preventing these drugs from reaching our community.”
The two suspects are currently being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Jail.