Wild boar in Italy have no shortage of enemies, from farmers and vineyard owners to motorists, but to that long list can now be added drug dealers.
A gang of dealers in Tuscany was left aghast after discovering that a stash of valuable cocaine they had carefully buried in the woods had been dug up by a herd of snuffling wild pigs.
With their powerful snouts, the boar managed to rip open the waterproof packages in which the cocaine was kept, scattering around ‚Ç¨20,000 ($35,000) worth of the white powder across the forest floor the UK Telegraph reported.
One of the men was recorded furiously reporting the loss of the cocaine to a fellow gang member, telling him the drugs were ruined.
It is not known what became of the boars or what effect the cocaine had on them.
All four alleged dealers were subsequently arrested and face charges of drug trafficking. Two were sent to jail while the others were placed under house arrest.
Wild boar are plentiful in Tuscany, as they are in most other regions of Italy.
Last week farmers from around the country held a protest outside parliament in Rome, calling for a drastic cull of the wild pigs.
Around 1,000 farmers said they faced a “national emergency”, with an estimated two million boar now rampaging through crops, devouring grapes in vineyards and digging up fields.
The population has doubled in a decade, aided by mild winters, a decline in the number of hunters, reforestation and the intensification of crop production, which gives the animals more to eat.
Farmers pointedly tucked into plates of boar stew and held up placards with messages such as “The only good boar is one you find in a bowl of polenta”.