Peacekeepers find drugs in Kosovo village during weapons search

PRISTINA, Jul 20, 2000 -- (AFP) KFOR peacekeeping troops uncovered a haul of drugs along with assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition after searching a Kosovo Albanian village, a British army spokeswoman said Wednesday.

In searches Monday and Tuesday of the village of Gornje Dobrevo, seven kilometers (four miles) southwest of Pristina, a team of around 400 troops from the KFOR multinational force found four harvests of cannabis and four boxes of "narcotics," Captain Kath Hurley said.

In houses across the village, the troops found several assault rifles, a machine gun, ammunition, gas masks, batons and handcuffs, Hurley said.

Three uniforms were found alongside the weapons, she said, but could not specify the unit to which the uniforms belonged.

A possible minefield was also identified near the village which Hurley said would be investigated further by explosives experts.

The Serbian media regularly portrays Kosovo Albanian separatist rebels as belonging to a "narco-mafia," supporting their struggle against the Yugoslav regime in Belgrade through criminal activities.

The search in Gornje Dobrevo, which was carried out by Finnish, British and Swedish troops, was part of an ongoing program to disarm Kosovo's population. Serbian villages have also been targeted for searches, Hurley said.

US troops serving in southeast Kosovo also found weapons Tuesday, Sergeant Pat McGuire said. A foot patrol of US peacekeepers discovered a grenade, a machine gun and a large quantity of ammunition in a building in Gnjilane, he said. No one was arrested.

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