Albanian marijuana growers use heavy weaponry to resist police crackdown on lawless village

Authorities say suspected gang members have fired rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns at hundreds of police officers who tried to enter a lawless village in southern Albania as part of a crackdown on Marijuana production.

Police said nobody was hurt in the pre-dawn attack Monday outside Lazarat, where authorities believe gangs produce about 900 metric tons of cannabis a year. The drug production is estimated to be worth about 4.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) — roughly half of the small Balkan country's GDP.

They said around 500 lightly-armed police, including special forces officers, surrounded the village overnight after a smaller force was repelled over the weekend by light-arms fire that injured one villager.

Police said they would continue the crackdown on the drug producers and "liberate Lazarat from criminals."