Albanian police said Monday they have destroyed more than 650,000 cannabis plants worth a staggering seven billion euros ($7.9 billion) since the beginning of the year. "Since January police have destroyed 650,333 cannabis plants and arrested 279 offenders," a police spokesman told AFP. Searches for another 90 suspected offenders were still going on, spokesman Ardi Bida added. Police were helped by their Italian counterparts who provided information as well as helicopters for some operations, he said. –AFP

They said the cannabis growers are trying to hide the crop in more isolated areas of the mountainous Balkan country, where access by road can be very difficult. "Due to large-scale operations conducted last year, we had a decrease in the number of large areas where cannabis was grown," police chief Haki Cako said.