Last week’s conference of European Union defense ministers near the Cretan town of Rethymnon dealt a crushing blow to a local marijuana grower’s brazen operation, according to a police announcement yesterday. A Rethymnon police spokesman said officers in a police helicopter patrolling the area as part of heavy security measures for the two-day meeting – which ended on Saturday – spotted 12 separate little hashish plantations on the Rethymnon University campus at Gallos, just outside the western Cretan town. Under asylum laws, intended to protect freedom of thought and expression, police are banned from entering university grounds unless explicit permission is granted by the academic authorities. This was promptly secured, and officers proceeded to uproot and destroy 620 flourishing cannabis plants. No arrests were made.