Albanian Police Burn 23 Tons of Marijuana After Fighting Dealers for Control of a Village

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 20 2014 12:16 PM

Albanian Police Burn 23 Tons of Marijuana After Fighting Dealers Wielding Grenades, Anti-Aircraft Gun

rtr3uau9
Lazarat.

REUTERS/Arben Celi

Reuters has a piece today about police battling heavily-armed marijuana dealers for control of an Albanian village. These kinds of stories can become exaggerated in credulous Western retellings—we have a condescending tendency to believe any outrageous detail if it comes from the developing world and/or involves "drug gangs"—but the level of detail in Reuters' report suggests that this village really was home to a marijuana paramilitary. (Also the fact that the villagers they interview are all, "yeah, we had a pretty big marijuana thing going on here.") It took the police five days to complete their operation because the criminal faction was armed with machine guns, anti-tank weapons, and more:

Over five days, police destroyed more than 80,000 marijuana plants and saplings and over 23 metric tonnes of cannabis. They seized 11 heavy weapons, over 7,000 bullets, explosives and 10 grenades. Fourteen people were arrested and 130 houses searched.
The breakthrough came on Thursday when an elite police unit, flown over the nearby Mt. Sopot by French-made Puma army helicopter, made a two-hour trek to disperse a group of gunmen operating an anti-aircraft gun that had slowed the police advance.
Advertisement

Meanwhile, the town's leader wonders what residents, many of whom reportedly worked in the farming operation, will now do for money:

"How will the people make a living?" asked Aliko, the village chief. "You tell me. This is the question everyone in Lazarat is asking himself."

The villagers seem like the big losers: by Reuters' account they can either make a living or have a society ruled by laws, but not both. Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.