A field filled with thousands of opium poppies — enough to make $45,000 worth of heroin — was discovered by Monterey County sheriff's deputies.
Over the weekend, authorities eradicated an acre of the poppies, according to a Facebook post from the Sheriff's Office.
The field contained 27,000 plants and an additional 16,500 poppies that had already been harvested, according to officials. All of those plants together could make about 13 pounds of raw opium, which could then be converted to 1.5 pounds of heroin, the Sheriff's Office said.
According to The Associated Press, the huge poppy field could have produced at least 4 pounds of heroin per year. The field could have been harvested three times a year.
The investigation is ongoing, and officials said they believe the case will go to the Monterey County District Attorney's Office for prosecution of the people involved in the grow.
"This operation shows the Sheriff's Office commitment to battling the opioid epidemic that our communities and nation currently face," the department said.
California has one of the lowest overall opioid-related death rates in the country, according to the New York Times, though the rural northern part of the state has seen an increase in opioid deaths in recent years.