Eight Argentinian police officers have been fired after they claimed that 540 kilos of cannabis which they had impounded had been eaten by rats. The incident comes after a newly instated police chief ordered a full inventory of all evidence held by the police.
Once the inventory had been taken it appeared that a significant amount of cannabis was missing. In fact, a 6000-kilo haul of cannabis held in an evidence warehouse was found to be 540 kilos lighter.
The police offers claimed that the missing cannabis had been eaten by rats while it was in storage. Experts explained that no rodent would mistake cannabis for food, and if a large group of rats had eaten it, they would have died as a result. The experts went on to say that the poisoned bodies of the dead rats would then have been found in the warehouse.
Another excuse that the police officers gave was that in the two years that the cannabis had been held in storage, it had probably dried out and lost water weight as a result. However, the lost water weight isn’t plausible due to the fact that for the cannabis to lose 540 kilos of water, it would have to have been in a submerged state to start with, which it wasn’t.
The dismissed police have been ordered to testify before a judge on 4 May. The judge will seek to determine if the missing cannabis is the result of gross incompetence or something much more serious. This story has captured the attention of the Argentinian media, and the media of many other countries.
The scandal has sparked a wider discussion of police behavior, abuse of power and the standards of discipline within the Argentinian police force, and the police forces of a number of other countries, in general. It will be interesting to see how the story progresses in the weeks and months to come.