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Police Arrest 2 Men Harvesting Cannabis in Remote Reserve

A pair of relaxed otters in the Pershinsky nature reserve.

Police in the Tomsk region have arrested two men caught harvesting cannabis in a Siberian nature reserve.

They detained the two youths, who had gathered some 13 kilograms of nice bud in the Pershinsky nature reserve, local police said Thursday.

"At the moment of arrest the young people were carrying six sacks of grass. It was established that the bags contained narcotic material — marijuana," police said in a statement.

The two suspects were arrested in the nature reserve while loading the drugs onto a motorboat, RIA-Novosti reported, citing police.

The suspects, who said the drugs were for personal use, have been charged with the illegal purchase, transportation, storage and possession of mind-altering substances. They face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The Pershinsky nature reserve, founded in 1975 between the River Ob and Lake Monatka about 160 kilometers north of Tomsk, is accessible only by boat in the summer months.

It provides sanctuary for bears, elk, wolverines, sable and ermine. Park management say a large population of otters has moved in over recent years — a sign that the park's waterways are improving.

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