Albanian police seize tons of marijuana after taking control of lawless southern village

Albanian police say they have seized huge amounts of marijuana and heavy weapons used by drug gangs, a day after taking control of a lawless southern village.

A police statement Friday said they checked 130 houses and other buildings in Lazaratt, and seized and destroyed 23.4 tons of marijuana and 81,300 plants, four drug-processing laboratories. They also report seizing many weapons including rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and a sniper rifle.

Fifteen suspected gang members were arrested.

Some 800 police were sent to Lazarat, 230 kilometers (140 miles) south of the capital Tirana, earlier in the week as part of a nationwide anti-drug operation. Heavily armed gang members responded with gunfire, grenades and mortars. One policeman and three villagers were injured.