Pigeon carrying crystal meth ‘like a backpack’ caught within B.C. prison yard

Pigeon carrying crystal meth ‘like a backpack’ caught within B.C. prison yard


Virtually a century ago, a pigeon breeder approached federal customs officers with a little bit of an odd challenge.

A pigeon he’d not too long ago sold to a customer in Mexico had flown again to his home in Texas with two aluminum capsules complete of cocaine tied to its legs.

Right after a brief investigation, officers announced their conclusion. 

“Carrier PIGEONS SMUGGLE Medication,” blared an all-caps newspaper headline on Feb. 2, 1930.

Drug-smuggling pigeons have persisted around the decades considering that, busted from North The united states to Europe and Asia.

The birds are caught with drugs or powder stuffed into mini-backpacks, little baggies or zippered pouches — occasionally foiled mainly because they could not get off the ground with all the weight.

Previous week, for the initially time in modern memory, a single was captured in B.C.

A newspaper article warning about pigeons smuggling drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border appears in a newspaper on Feb. 2, 1930.
A newspaper article warning about pigeons smuggling medicine across the U.S.-Mexico border appears in a newspaper on Feb. 2, 1930. (TimesMachine/The New York Moments)

“This is form of a curveball,” claimed John Randle, Pacific regional president of the Union for Canadian Correctional Officers.

Officers ‘had to corner it’

Randle explained it was a schedule day after the holiday seasons at Pacific Institution in Abbotsford, B.C., on Dec. 29.

Officers ended up standing in one of the fenced inmate unit yards, which prisoners use consistently for hanging out, playing game titles or just receiving some contemporary air.

Then the officers seen a thing weird: a grey hen with a small bundle on its back.

“From my understanding, it was tied to it in a very similar vogue as like a minor backpack,” Randle mentioned.

The officers moved in.

“They had to corner it,” Randle mentioned. “You can imagine how that would appear, seeking to catch a pigeon.”

A grey correctional facility building is pictured on an overcast day. Mountains are in the background.
Pacific Establishment correctional facility is pictured in Abbotsford, B.C., on Thursday. The multi-stage advanced has a capacity for all-around 500 inmates. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Soon after “a prolonged period of time of time,” the officers apprehended the chicken, removed its cargo and established it free.

Randle explained the package deal contained about 30 grams of crystal meth, which he explained as a “rather considerable” sum of the intensely addictive stimulant.

“It can be surely terrifying with the simple fact that it was crystal meth that was identified on the hen, because that leads to a whole ton of troubles,” he additional.

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Corrections Canada verified in an electronic mail it is investigating, but would not provide more information.

Drones normally the challenge

In modern years, corrections officers have increasingly been on the lookout for drones dropping contraband into correctional facilities. Very last month, a drone dropped a firearm into Mission Establishment.

Due to the fact the drone crackdown, Randle mentioned smugglers might be turning again to “outdated university” procedures like pigeons or “throwover” — where by somebody outdoors lobs a bundle about the fence.

“We have been focusing so a great deal on drone interdiction … now we have to glance at, I guess, pigeons again,” explained Randle, who has not listened to of a further stay pigeon incident in B.C. in his 13 many years of practical experience.

“It truly is a bit of a actuality test for us that the creativity that people are heading to use to attempt and smuggle medications and other contraband into the institution is multifaceted.”

Homing pigeons have been utilised to have messages because the Roman Empire, particularly valued during the 1st and Second Entire world Wars for their potential to navigate extended distances to return to their property lofts with vital messages. 

A bird flies over a prison tower, surrounded by a fence.
A fowl flies near a tower at the Pacific Institution correctional facility in Abbotsford, B.C. on Jan. 5. In modern several years, corrections officers have more and more been on the lookout for drones dropping contraband into correctional amenities. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Just one qualified claimed there are two plausible means to use a pigeon to produce medication. A single, a person could throw the freighted pigeon about the fence into the prison.

Next, an inmate could devote months training the chicken from the inside to understand the prison as its house. Somebody would get the fowl to the outside, fasten its cargo and release it to return “home” to the jail.

“Like Shawshank Redemption, exactly where he experienced a crow from a baby — you could do that with a pigeon. Then, yeah, the pigeon would arrive back,” explained Givo Hassko, director of the Vancouver Poultry & Fancy Pigeon Affiliation.

“It really is unfortunate in a way, where the pigeons once had been used for saving lives is now remaining applied for smuggling,” he included. “But I hope they they figure it out.”

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