Tuesday December 1st, 2015 1:27PM

Winder Police discover opium grow while investigating hit and run

By Martin Dotson
WINDER - While following up on information obtained from witnesses to a hit and run accident, a Winder police officer stumbled upon a large opium poppy grow in a residential area.

The accident occurred in the parking lot of Hill's Ace Hardware store in Winder at approximately 3:30 Saturday afternoon. Witnesses to the accident gave police a tag number along with a physical description of the vehicle that left the scene.

Officers responded to a residence on Northcrest Drive, based on the information from the vehicle tag. They were able to make contact with a homeowner at the residence who was questioned about the accident. The homeowner lead officers to the rear of the property where a vehicle matching the description was found parked behind the home.

While at the rear of the home, Winder Police Officer Dustin Kaster noticed a very large quantity of an unusual plant growing all over the back of the property. Officer Kaster suspected the plant to be opium but wasn't entirely sure. Officer Kaster was able to perform some brief research at the scene using the internet and was ultimately able to identify the plant as an opium species.

Several residents of the home are being detained by the Winder Police Department at this time while the plants are being seized. The Barrow County Crime Task Force has also been called in to assist Winder P.D. in this investigation. Criminal charges are pending until further information can be collected.

Police have been told at this point by some of the residents that the plants were obtained from overseas, possibly from Asia, and were being used by an elderly person in the home for medicinal purposes. Approximately 900 plants have been seized from the home at this time.

More information will be released as soon as it becomes available
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