MEXICO: V for Hop

The red and white opium poppies burst into bloom last week in the barren mountains of Northwest Mexico, setting the stage for melodrama. Troops rode through the hidden valleys, determined to stop the opium harvest. But the contraband harvesters, brown farmers and shepherds, bent on sharing the highest dope prices in history from over the border, eluded the soldiers.

Silently the opium gatherers moved among the flowers, sometimes hidden from sight among the rows of corn. With knives and razors they slashed a "V" in the egg-shaped fruit over the big poppy...

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