Buying at auction a car confiscated by government authorities — seems like a thrifty idea, no? However, in at least three cases in the vicinity of San Diego and nearby Tijuana, Mexico the buyers appear to have gotten more than they bargained for: illegal drugs were later found concealed in the cars, and the hapless motorists in all three cases spent time in jail before the seeming mixup was straightened out. A lawyer for one of the buyers, U.S. citizen Adrian Rodriguez, is now trying to prove that the Customs Service conducted a less than thorough search for contraband before the auctions because it didn’t want to impair the cars’ auction value by cutting them up too drastically. The agency denies the charge. (Anna Cearley, “Customs evidence preserved?”, San Diego Union-Tribune, Sept. 27).