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Mexico disputes US heroin production estimates

November 29, 2018

FILE - In this March 4, 2010 file photo, a soldier stands on a poppy field, during eradication supervised by the Mexican Army on the outskirts of Morelia, Mexico. Mexico's government said on Nov. 29, 2018 that its opium poppy production is much lower than U.S. estimates, and that its army eradicated almost the entire crop. (AP Photo/Carlos Jasso, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s government said Thursday that opium poppy production in the country is much lower than U.S. estimates, and added that its army has eradicated almost the entire crop.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently estimated Mexico now supplies 91 percent of heroin tested in the United States. Heroin is made by refining opium gum from poppy plants.

In early November, the DEA estimated the size of Mexican poppy plantations rose 38 percent to 44,100 hectares in 2017.

Mexico said Thursday there were only 30,600 hectares in 2017, an increase of 21 percent. And it said the army eradicated 29,692 hectares.

That would leave only 900 hectares of production, enough for about 900 kilograms of heroin. The U.S. estimates Mexico produced 111 metric tons in 2017.

Mexico acknowledged its heroin seizures dropped 23 percent to 358 kilograms.

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