Police in India have blamed rats for stealing nearly 200 kilograms (approximately 441 pounds) of marijuana — enough to roll 1.3 million joints — that was confiscated and stored at local precincts in Mathura.
Mathura police were asked to provide around 386 kilograms (approximately 850 pounds) of marijuana as evidence in a separate recent case, but prosecutors told a court in Uttar Pradesh state that more than 500 kilograms (approximately 1,543 pounds) kept at different stations throughout the city could have been affected by a rat infestation.
“Rats are small animals, and they aren’t scared of the police,” the court noted, according to CNN.
Judge Sanjay Chaudhary said the police had no way of dealing with the rats because they were “too small.”
He then suggested auctioning the marijuana to research labs and medicine companies in order to protect the seized items from “fearless mice,” with the proceeds going to the government, the BBC reported.
“There’s a rat menace in almost all police stations. Hence, necessary arrangements need to be made to safeguard the cannabis that’s been confiscated,” court documents said.
The rat infestation claim became muddled even further as Mathura City Police Superintendent Martand Prakash Singh told CNN after the court case that the marijuana had been “destroyed by rains and flooding” and not by rodents.
“There was no reference to rats in the (report submitted to the court) … the police only mentioned that the seized cannabis was destroyed in the rains and flooding,” Singh said.
This isn’t the first time rodents have been blamed for the disappearance of marijuana.
Eight police officers in Argentina were fired in 2018 after claiming mice had taken half a ton of marijuana from a police warehouse. Experts told The Guardian that the rodents could not have confused the drug for food, and “if a large group of mice had eaten it, a lot of corpses would have been found in the warehouse.”