Serbia seizes four tonnes of marijuana in organic food farm

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbian police raided an organic food farm just outside the capital Belgrade, detaining nine people and seizing almost four tonnes of marijuana, in one of the nation’s biggest such swoops, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

The police also seized two handguns, a falsified police identification card and a car equipped with police markings at the farm near the northern town of Stara Pazova, it said.

Cannabis production is illegal in Serbia, although activists are promoting its legalisation for medicinal use.

“Members of the Ministry of Interior ... seized 649.4 kilograms of dried marijuana and 65,581 stems of this narcotic plant, with the total weight of 3,954 kilograms,” the ministry statement said.

The farm was also producing organic vegetables and was a supplier to major retailer chains. Representatives for the farm were not immediately available to comment.

The Balkan country, which wants to join the European Union, has stepped up efforts against drug trafficking and production in recent years, arresting dozens of members of drug cartels. Most drugs reach Serbia from the Middle East and Latin America.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne