Pigeon Caught Smuggling “Backpack” Full of Drugs Across Border

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A pigeon equipped with a small backpack full of amphetamine tablets was intercepted by officials in Kuwait. The bird, carrying a total of 178 ketamine pills was caught by Kuwaiti officers near the customs building in Abdali, a city close to the Iraqi border, according to local newspaper al-Rai.

Authorities are yet to identify who is responsible for strapping the package of pills to the bird, but they believe the pigeon flew into Kuwait from Iraq. The ketamine pills the bird was carrying are technically an anaesthetic, but are generally used as a party drug in much the same way as ecstasy or MDMA.

Abdullah Fahmi, a journalist with al-Rai, said that customs officials in Kuwait already knew that pigeons were being used to smuggle drugs into the country, however, this was the first time they’ve actually been able to catch one in the act. Law-enforcement officials in other countries have had slightly more luck in capturing the birds trafficking drugs across their borders.

A pigeon was stopped from running cocaine and cannabis into a prison in Costa Rica using a zipped pouch in 2015. The bird was found in the yard of La Reforma, a medium-security prison, with a small sack strapped to its chest full of plastic bags containing about 14 grams of cocaine and 14 grams of marijuana. At the time, officials told news sources that the bird had most likely been trained by an inmate.

“Drug traffickers are using unimaginable ways to achieve their macabre atrocities,” Police Director Paul Bertozzi told the Efe news agency at the time. “This is nothing new. In the past [traffickers] have used cats and dogs to pass drugs to prisoners. Now it seems they are using pigeons to carry in their wares from the outside.” Also, in 2011 Columbian prison officials became curious when they noticed a pigeon was having trouble flying over a high wall. This particular bird was being weighted down by the sheer amounts of marijuana and cocaine it was attempting to carry.

Pigeons have been used for delivering messages since Roman times and racing pigeons are known for their ability to cover hundreds of miles at a time, so although we are yet to hear the full details of this particular case in Kuwait, it is also unlikely that it is the last time we will hear of pigeons being used to transport drugs.