Crime & Justice

Wild elephant discovers opium cache in China

Beijing, Aug 22 (EFE).- An elephant has detected 2.8 kilograms of opium in a bag hidden in a forest in Yunnan province in southwestern China, the state-run Global Times reported Tuesday.

Border police in the Mengman township of Xishuangbanna autonomous prefecture were informed by villagers about four wild elephants strolling around, posing a threat to residents.

Upon arriving at the scene, the police noticed that one of the elephants had abruptly stopped and started to sniff the grass and then flung out a backpack from the underbush.

Upon inspecting the backpack, officers found 2.8kg of opium, an illegal substance derived from the poppy plants and used in the production of heroin.

The police are investigating the matter for further details.

Cross-border drug trafficking has always been an issue in Yunnan, which borders Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

The video of the wild elephant rapidly went viral on social media, amassing over 200 million views as of Tuesday morning on Weibo, China’s equivalent of X (formerly twitter).

Social media users were quick to applaud the elephant for its remarkable sense of smell and intelligence and many urged authorities to reward it with more of its favorite treats, such as bananas.

Some netizens even referred to the animal as “a secret agent” and called for more protection for Asian elephants, an endangered “smart” species, often considered a “good friend” of humans.

Meanwhile, the authorities in southwestern Chongqing municipality revealed in February that they had trained a group of squirrels to detect drugs in hard-to-reach spaces, such as storage sheds or very high places.

These anti-drug Eurasian red squirrels, known for their exceptional sense of smell, demonstrated the ability to swiftly identify the presence of drugs in challenging locations.

China, with one of the world’s strictest drug control systems with an extensive list of prohibited substances, enforces the death penalty for large-scale drug trafficking. EFE


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