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The rats did what?

'They're all high': Louisiana police say rats eating marijuana in evidence room

March 12th, 2024

New Orleans superintendent tells council committee that rodents have infested the building and requests to move headquarters

Cops in New Orleans are on the tail of a brazen gang of narcotics traffickers who broke into the evidence room at police headquarters and pilfered all the pot: a swarm of rodents with a hankering for the high life.

"The rats are eating our marijuana. They're all high," Anne Kirkpatrick, superintendent of the city's police department, told a council committee meeting on Monday.

The chief's ratting out of the prime suspects was part of her pitch to councilors to fund a move for her officers into new premises in the Big Easy's downtown, according to

She told the city's criminal justice committee that the decrepit mid-city criminal justice building in which the police department is currently housed, which was built in 1968, is no longer fit for the job.

Along with the rats, which she said leave feces all over desks, there is an infestation of cockroaches, as well as countless maintenance issues, including broken elevators, non-functioning plumbing and an air conditioning system that collapsed last summer, and has a repair bill in excess of $6m.

"It is not just at police headquarters. It is all the districts. The uncleanliness is off the charts," Kirkpatrick told councilors. "The janitorial cleaning [team] deserves an award, trying to clean what is uncleanable."

The rats breaking into the evidence room and sniffing out the marijuana was particularly problematic, she said, because of its potential to affect criminal cases.

The committee approved a motion that would see the department take a 10-year lease on two floors of a downtown office building if it also passes a full council vote in the coming weeks.

City officials concede the police department was a priority case and that other tenants of the criminal justice building would be left behind, at least for the time being.

"I foresee most of the criminal justice agencies will have to be temporarily housed as we address these old decrepit buildings," said Gilbert Montaño, the chief administrative officer, according to the report.

"Right now, we are addressing police headquarters because it is in dire straits."

Last week, the outlet reported that the pending move of hundreds of officers and support staff would further desolate the aging complex. Surrounding buildings that once housed parish prisoners and municipal and traffic courts now sit dormant, it said, the courtrooms abandoned after roof damage from Hurricane Ida in 2021.

Officials did not discuss what would happen to the main building's swarms of rats, which are not the first rodents to display a liking for marijuana, nor the first to burgle a police premises to get it.

In 2022, CNN reported the case of rats in northern India eating more than 1,100lb (500kg) of cannabis seized from drug dealers and stored in a police warehouse. "Rats are small animals, and they aren't scared of the police," an official told a court in Uttar Pradesh.

That episode came four years after the Guardian reported the story of eight police officers in Argentina who were fired because authorities refused to believe their claim that mice had eaten more than half a ton of marijuana that disappeared from a law enforcement warehouse storing confiscated drugs about 35 miles north-west of Buenos Aires.

"Buenos Aires University experts have explained that mice wouldn't mistake the drug for food, and that if a large group of mice had eaten it, a lot of corpses would have been found in the warehouse," a spokesperson for the judge said at the time.

Change the locks or at least the key cards!
Do you inspect drugs when they are returned?

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