Six pedigree cats allegedly being used to launder money were seized during a police raid on a suspected drugs network in Thailand.
Five Scottish fold and one Bengal cat were found caged in the empty house of Achara Namnin, wife of known drug kingpin Sorrakit Sonsiri in Rayong province.
The house was raided after months of surveillance from the police. Officers suspected the cartel were continuing trafficking drugs despite their boss being locked behind bars along with six others in January.
During the operation on March 15, officers said they found more than 224,000 pieces of assorted drug pills in the property, including four unregistered luxury cars, gold jewelry, cash, and other valuables worth up to 120 million Baht (3.9 million USD).
Officers found the six cats abandoned in the empty house but they were kept inside their cages with food. The felines appeared strong without any health condition.
Upon investigation, the police suspected that the cats were being used to launder drug money as each feline could fetch prices of up to 2,000 USD per kitten depending on quality.
The cats were taken to the local livestock officials and will be auctioned off to the public once their use as evidence has expired.
They were sent to a foster home and would later enter the auction process unless the owner presented evidence that the felines were not involved in the alleged laundering.
Police Lieutenant General Chinnaphat Sarasin said: ‘The police could not take care of the expensive cats so we will turn them over to a foster home until the auctioning process.’
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board said they will claim the cats after seven days to sell them.
Phattaraphon Inkaew, who temporarily took care of the felines said: ‘After three days, they trusted me more. They seemed depressed when they arrived here as they missed their owner so much.’
Phattaraphon had to buy the expensive cats bags of high-quality pet food which costs 195 Baht (6.33 USD) per kilogram as they did not want to eat regular feed.
Cat lovers and animal rights activists were reportedly planning to join the bidding for the felines.