Police in India have ratted out resident rats for allegedly eating the evidence and making seized cannabis unavailable for drug peddling and trafficking trials.
Drug offences in breach of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 are viewed “very seriously and penalties are stiff,” notes India’s Department of Revenue.
Producing or selling a less than commercial quantity of cannabis, upon conviction, could lead to “rigorous imprisonment up to six months,” a fine or both. For commercial amounts, imprisonment could be up to 10 years.
That means the supposedly nibbling nuisances could potentially prevent appropriate sentences from being ordered because the full evidence is simply not available.
As reported by the BBC, the munching mice have chewed through about 200 kilograms of weed that had been seized from dealers and was being kept in various police stations in Uttar Pradesh state.
The police had been asked to produce various stashes for evidence, but in two cases, the confiscated contraband had apparently been partially destroyed by rodents. Specifically, the BBC quotes Judge Sanjay Chaudhary as saying 195 kilograms of weed was messed with in one case and in another, an unidentified amount of the 386 kilograms of bud was “eaten” by the furry rodents.
Pointing out that about 700 kilograms of marijuana seized by the police was currently being stored in police stations in Mathura district, the judge noted “all of it was under danger of infestation by rats.”
To avoid wasting the fruits of officers’ labour, Judge Chaudhary’s solution was to “auction the drugs to research labs and medicine firms, with the proceeds going to the government,” per the BBC.
The National News reported this week that in the northern city of Mathura, prosecutors wrote to magistrates to explain 581 kilograms of drugs related to a trafficking case five years ago had gone missing from two storerooms. The remaining weed was destroyed by officers, prosecutors told the court.
The publication reports that trials in India can take as long as decades and “many accused often escape punishment over poor police investigations or evidence management.”
Rodents do seem to have a penchant for pot. In September 2020, a mouse in New Brunswick that apparently loves weed was documented gorging on ganja until the little fella passed out flat on his back.
Earlier that same year, a study exploring whether or not rats would start jonesing for bud after access to the drug was taken away was released.
After the rats had been trained to nose-poke for puffs during one-hour sessions over 21 days, access to the puffs stopped. When that happened, researchers reported “it went from 17 to 18 nose pokes up to 70 to 80 on average. They were trying to figure out why it wasn’t working.”
Also, the police station rat issue is not new and doesn’t only affect India. Last month in Nigeria, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency reported that a rat displaying some very odd behaviour may have got high on cannabis evidence stored in an evidence room.
In India, though, rats who frequent police stations there have their fair share of vices.
Indeed, police in Bihar previously pointed their fingers at the ravenous rodents for consuming thousands of litres of confiscated alcohol stored on the premises, per the BBC. This booze binge apparently took place after the state banned the sale and consumption of alcohol.
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