A half-ton of confiscated marijuana disappeared from a storage room in India — and police are now pointing fingers at tiny, four-legged trespassers.
Police in Mathura, a city about 100 miles south of New Delhi, said rats consumed the sizable stockpile, filled with enough marijuana to roll 1.3 million joints, after a court mandated that the drugs be produced as evidence in a smuggling trial, according to The National.
“There is no place in the police station where the stored goods can be saved from the rats,” prosecutors said, according to the outlet.
The court, seemingly unconvinced, demanded proof that the rodents had eaten the drugs, which were valued at about $70,000, according to the Times of India. The judge also ordered police to put a stop to the “mice menace.”
The police have until Nov. 26 to produce evidence that the rodents are culpable, according to India Today.
The Mathura police did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on Nov. 25.
“Being small in size, rats have no fear of the police,” The Mathura police stated in court, according to the Times of India, adding that officers “cannot be experts in solving every problem.”
Rodents have been accused of pigging out on marijuana in the past, a fact that the judge noted to the court, according to the BBC.
Eight police officers in Argentina were fired in 2018 after they said a similar amount of weed had been eaten by mice, a claim forensic experts undermined in court, according to The Guardian.
Mice consistently consumed dough laced with THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to a 2019 study, though dough with the highest levels of THC was eaten less.
An earlier study from the University of British Columbia found that rats that noshed on THC-laced foods “unsurprisingly” became lazy.
India has strict laws regulating marijuana; growers of the plant can be punished with up to 10 years in prison, according to the government.