Listen to this article Backpack-Wearing Pigeon Arrested For Meth Delivery To BC Prison In Canada
Drug-smuggling has always been a major problem for correctional facilities, with people resorting to creative and sometimes bizarre ways to get drugs and other contraband into prisons. While the use of drones to drop packages into prison yards has become increasingly common, another method that has persisted over the decades is using carrier pigeons.
History of drug-smuggling pigeons
The use of pigeons to smuggle drugs is not a new phenomenon. In fact, almost a century ago, a pigeon breeder approached federal customs officers with an unusual problem. A pigeon he had recently sold to a buyer in Mexico had flown back to his home in Texas with two aluminum capsules filled with cocaine tied to its legs. After investigating the matter, officials concluded that “CARRIER PIGEONS SMUGGLE DRUGS,” as an all-caps newspaper headline from February 2, 1930, declared.
Since then, authorities have caught drug-smuggling pigeons all around the globe, spanning from North America to Europe and Asia. Law enforcement officials caught these birds carrying pills or powder, which they often hide in mini-backpacks, small baggies, or zippered pouches.
In some instances, the weight of the drugs has impeded the birds’ ability to take off, ultimately leading to their capture.
Recent incident in British Columbia
Last week, officers captured a pigeon carrying a package containing approximately 30 grams of crystal meth in a fenced inmate unit yard at Pacific Institution in Abbotsford, British Columbia. This event represents the first instance in recent memory of authorities seizing a drug-smuggling pigeon in the area.
According to John Randle, the Pacific regional president of the Union for Canadian Correctional Officers, it was a routine day after the holidays when officers noticed a grey bird with a small package tied to its back. The officers moved in, but the pigeon had to be cornered, which proved to be a challenging task. After a lengthy period of time, the officers apprehended the bird, removed its cargo, and released it.
Investigation and drone crackdown
Corrections Canada has confirmed that it is investigating the matter but did not provide further details. In recent years, corrections officers have increasingly been on the lookout for drones dropping contraband into correctional facilities. Last month, a drone dropped a firearm into Mission Institution. Since the drone crackdown, smugglers may be turning back to “old school” methods like pigeons or “throwover,” where someone outside lobs a package over the fence.
One expert states that people have been using homing pigeons to carry messages since the Roman Empire. They were especially prized during the First and Second World Wars for their exceptional ability to navigate long distances and return to their home lofts with essential messages.
There are two plausible ways to use a pigeon to deliver drugs. One way is to throw the freighted pigeon over the fence into the prison. The second way is to train an inmate to recognize the prison as the pigeon’s home and get the bird to the outside, fasten its cargo, and release it to return “home” to the prison.Read more: Backpack-Wearing Pigeon Arrested For Meth Delivery To BC Prison In Canada