Albanian authorities claim to have destroyed almost all of the marijuana planted in the country, a major European producer of the plant.

Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri said Wednesday that 99.2 percent, or 690,000 cannabis plants in 44 hectares (109 acres) identified in aerial maps, have been destroyed so far this year.

Long a major producer, Albanian authorities began a crackdown last year, when police stormed the southern village of Lazarat with armored personnel carriers and came under automatic weapon and rocket fire by drug growers.

Last year, police destroyed about 550,000 cannabis plants and 102 tons of marijuana with an estimated market value at the time of 7 billion euros ($8.5 billion) — more than two-thirds of the country's annual gross domestic product.