Kenya villagers: no idea export popppies were for drugs

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A Kenyan farmer arrested for exporting poppies to the Netherlands said he had been doing so since he was a child along with dozens of other villagers and had no idea they were used for drugs.

“I have been growing this plant for years and I didn’t know,” 38-year-old David Kamau told Reuters at the police station.
“I am surprised that I have been arrested.” Kenya has never had any significant trade in opium poppies, Reuters reports.

Kamu said that he earned 30 U.S. cents for one stem of the narcotic plant and that the poppies were exported through a local airport. He did not say who paid him or picked it up.

Confirming the seizure, the head of a local anti-narcotics police unit, Sebastian Ndaru, said that prelimary tests showed the three sacks of seized plants were poppies.

Other smallholders in the tiny Kenyan village weighed in to defend Kamu, sayng dozens of them also grew poppies.
“We have grown these flowers and other species for a long time and delivered them to Holland for auctioning and nobody has said that it’s a drug,” Kihara Mwangi told Reuters.