Police destroyed 562,757 marijuana plants in the mountains of Talamanca, a canton in southern Costa Rica, but no arrests were made, the Security Ministry said.

The plants were destroyed during an operation conducted June 7-21 by officers, who also provided food, medicines and other humanitarian assistance to 190 Indians in communities in the remote region, the ministry said.

Police have destroyed more than 4.1 million marijuana plants over the past two years in Talamanca, the most difficult to reach area in Costa Rica and home to the country's tallest mountains, the ministry said in a statement.

Some Indians plant marijuana along with corn, plantains and other food crops, the ministry said.

Forests have been cleared to plant corn and plantains by the Indians, who live in poverty and lack access to medical care and basic services, police stationed in the area said.

"According to officers, the area is increasingly deteriorating; in fact, 'clearings' can be seen that are affecting biodiversity, as well as much poverty and little attention to public services," the ministry said. EFE