Albania cracking down on marijuana production

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian authorities have seized a total 2.3 metric tons of marijuana in a series of recent raids, amid pledges by the new Socialist government to eradicate widespread cultivation of the drug.

Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries, produces large quantities of marijuana and is a transit point for Asian heroin. In the key growing region of Lazarat alone, annual production is estimated at 900 tons, worth about 4.5 billion euros ($6 billion) — or about half the country's GDP.

Police said Monday the seizures were made since Friday in the capital Tirana and four other cities. The drugs were headed for Italy and Greece. Police said at least 12 people were detained. The government has made fighting drugs a top priority, amid efforts to join the European Union.

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