From the San Jose Mercury News:
SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Police raided a Westside house Friday morning where they suspected people were producing opiates and arrested a UC Santa Cruz PhD candidate who said he used dried poppy pods to flavor home-brewed beer a month ago.
"All I did was make a poppy beer," said Chad Renzelman, 28, who was arrested at his Bay Street home Friday. "I spent all morning in jail for brewing beer. I had no idea what I was doing was illegal."
But police reported that Renzelman, who studies chemistry, allegedly had used a chemical process to extract opium from poppy plant pods, then converted the opium to morphine. Morphine is the active opiate in heroin.
Police reported finding a pressurized canister of homemade beer laced with morphine in Renzelman's garage, as well as lab equipment contaminated with opium alkaloids and other hazardous chemicals.
Renzelman said in a phone interview Friday that he bought the dried poppy pods on eBay and used them more than a month ago to make beer. He and some friends have a "home-brew co-op" and brew beer together on the weekends.
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