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Cops: Women Hid $3M of Heroin, Opium in Tea Leaves

They were arrested at O'Hare International Airport

(Newser) - Three women were allegedly found with more than $3 million worth of drugs hidden in bags of tea leaves Tuesday afternoon at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the Chicago Sun Times reports. Authorities say nearly 70 pounds of opium and heroin were divided up into 470 tiny packets in... More »

Secret Ingredient Used in China's Restaurants: Drugs

Country's FDA going after eateries it says use opium poppy powder as seasoning

(Newser) - If repasts at restaurants in China have seemed especially delectable (and irresistible) as of late, it may be because workers were sprinkling addictive opiates into the mix. That's what that country's equivalent of the FDA alleges, and now five restaurants are being prosecuted, while 30 others are getting... More »

Ex-Blackwater Firm Makes Millions in Futile Fight on Afghan Drugs

Guardian: Academi pulled in $569M to kill Afghan narcotics industry, which is thriving

(Newser) - The company formerly known as Blackwater has pulled in a pretty penny from US taxpayers in its Pentagon-supported drive to flush out the Afghan narcotics industry: Nearly $570 million from fiscal 2002 to September 2013 was funneled to the firm now known as Academi—about 32% of the $1.8... More »

Reporter Next to Burning Heroin Can't Stop Giggling

BBC's Quentin Sommerville posts video of failed news report from Middle East

(Newser) - Christmas came early for BBC reporter Quentin Sommerville's nearly 25,000 Twitter followers after he posted a rather hazy link yesterday: footage of him reporting next to a pile of flaming drugs. Or trying to report, as he bursts into uncontrollable laughter just a few seconds into the taping.... More »

Noodle Vendor's Secret Ingredient: Opium Poppy

He wanted customers to come back again and again

(Newser) - What keeps diners coming back again and again? Addictive drugs hidden in the food, apparently. China says it has jailed a noodle vendor for 10 days after he admitted to lacing his grub with powder ground from the poppy plant, used to make opium, CNN reports. The man, identified as... More »

Afghan Opium Crop Hits Record High

Withdrawal expected to give drug trade another boost

(Newser) - After more than a decade of international efforts to combat the narcotics trade in Afghanistan—depriving the Taliban of funds in the process—the country is now producing more opium than ever before, a UN reports funds. The harvest this year resulted in a staggering 6,000 tons of opium,... More »

Top Afghan Airline Hauling Opium: US

US military bans contracts with Kam Air

(Newser) - Afghanistan's leading private airline has been transporting opium in "bulk" on civilian flights, the US military says. Central Command has now banned Kam Air from any military contracts, marking the first time the military has slapped drug-related penalties on a major Afghan firm, the Wall Street Journal notes.... More »

US Suspects Afghan Air Force of Drug Running

Investigators say US-funded force has been ferrying illegal weapons, too

(Newser) - The US military and the DEA are both investigating the Afghan Air Force, over allegations that it has been using its aircraft—most of which were funded with US cash—to ferry narcotics and illegal weapons around the country, officials tell the Wall Street Journal . Senior AAF and Afghan government... More »

Agriculture Candidate: Let's Grow Poppy Plants at Prison

Louisiana office-seeker floats unusual idea to raise money

(Newser) - Who says a political race for agriculture commissioner needs to be dull? A Democratic candidate in Louisiana has livened things up with a novel proposal to grow poppy plants on 7,000 acres outside a state prison, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune . The plants would be used for legal medical... More »

Afghans Turning Their Babies Into Addicts

Poor Afghans view opium as a 'tradition'

(Newser) - In a remote corner of northern Afghanistan, a woman feeds her four-year-old opium for breakfast. Her mother-in-law, sitting nearby, rolls some opium into a ball-shaped piece and puts it in her mouth. Three generations are addicted to the drug in this family, and there are many more Afghans like them,... More »

Teens Get High on 'Digital Drugs'

Should we be concerned about 'i-dosing'?

(Newser) - The latest drug trend sweeping the nation has nothing to do with pharmaceuticals. Kids are getting high on MP3s, Wired reports , pointing to an Oklahoma News 9 report (at left) on the phenomenon known as “i-dosing.” Supposedly, just by putting on headphones and listening to music—which is... More »

World's Top Pot Source: Afghanistan

Country slides into first place with 'astonishing' crop yields

(Newser) - The country that supplies the lion's share of the world's opium has become the top cannabis producer as well, according to report from the UN's drug agency. Other countries have more land devoted to marijuana, UNDOC chief Antonio Maria Costa says, but Afghan farmers achieve "astonishingly high" yields, producing... More »

Karzai's Brother on CIA Payroll: Insiders

Ahmed Wali Karzai has been linked to Afghanistan drug trade

(Newser) - The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been on the CIA’s payroll for much of the past 8 years, a time during which he’s boosted his personal power in a large area of southern Afghanistan—and been linked to the opium trade. Ahmed Wali Karzai denies the... More »

Taliban Money Men Outwit US

Diverse revenue streams defy crackdown efforts

(Newser) - The Taliban is thriving financially, despite the US’ best efforts to clamp down on its cash flow, thanks to a sophisticated collection of revenue streams including foreign donations, criminal activities, and drug trade profits. “I don’t believe we can significantly alter their effectiveness by cutting off their money... More »

Opium Addiction Hooks Afghan Families

(Newser) - Afghanistan’s booming opium industry has hooked entire families on drugs, forcing them to sell land, livestock, and daughters to pay for their addiction, the AP reports. Some 200,000 Afghans are strung out on heroin or opium—50,000 more than in the US—as addiction moves from granddads... More »

Opium Addiction On Rise for Afghan Moms, Kids

(Newser) - Opium is taking a heavy toll on the women and children of Afghanistan, but it's addiction, not production, that's entering the spotlight. Opium is cheaper than a meal, staves off hunger, and brings the family some happiness, one addicted mother tells CBS News as she prepares opium tea for her... More »

After Rash of Deaths, UK Rethinks Afghanistan

(Newser) - Eight British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan last week within just 24 hours, the worst day of casualties the UK had seen in 30 years. After 15 fatalities in July alone, Gordon Brown is facing severe criticism for underfinancing the war effort, particularly for not providing enough helicopters to troops,... More »

US-Built Bridge Supports Afghan Drug Trade

$37M project facilitates opium smuggling into Tajikistan

(Newser) - A US-built bridge linking Afghanistan and Tajikistan that cost taxpayers $37 million has greatly benefited exporters of Afghan opium, McClatchy reports. The bridge over the Panj river was supposed to facilitate commerce between the two nations, but the surging flow of opium across Afghanistan’s northern border threatens to turn... More »

US to Change Tactics in Afghan Drug War

(Newser) - The US is changing tactics in its war against the Afghan opium trade, the AP reports. Rather than targeting crops for eradication, the US will focus on interdiction and alternative crop programs. A top administration official called eradication “a waste of money” that failed to divert “a single... More »

'High as a Kite' Wallabies Draw Circles in Poppy Fields

It raises concerns about crop safety in Tasmania

(Newser) - Crop circles popping up in Australia aren’t the work of extraterrestrial visitors, but of stoned wallabies, Livenews reports. Marsupials have been breaking into poppy fields—which supply 50% of the world’s opium to pharmaceuticals—and munching on the crops. Then, “high as a kite,” they spin... More »

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