Policía Penitenciaria captura paloma que tenía 14 gramos de cocaína y 14 gramos de marihuana adheridos a su cuerpo. pic.twitter.com/BuzDtB09f5— Justicia y Paz (@justiciaypazcr) August 11, 2015
Among the many creative ways that drugs can be smuggled into prison, this one flies to the top of the list.
Costa Rican authorities said this week they have caught a pigeon strapped with a fanny-pack like bag containing 14 grams of cocaine and 14 grams of marijuana. It caught a guard’s eye, they said, when the odd-shaped bird was seen landing in the jail’s courtyard with a bag tied to its body.
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The incident was the first of its kind at “La Reforma” prison at San Rafael de Alajuela, a city in the north-central part of the country, bordering Nicaragua.
After the Facebook post and tweet alert from the Ministry of Peace and Justice, Costa Rica’s social media flew into a frenzy making fun of the pigeon. Many took to Twitter to even create a fake news alert saying that all pigeons were in cahoots together and were planning to take over San Jose if they didn’t receive their “compadre” back.
The hashtag #NarcoPaloma which means “Narco Dove” started trending throughout the entire country, as people began creating memes and slogans.
The Telegraph reported that the bird was handed over to a zoo, where it is being kept under observation.
“Because of the way it came to us, it can never be freed,” a zoo worker told local media, according to the paper. He said the bird was reluctant to eat, probably because it had become used to being hand-fed by one person.
This is not the first time that a pigeon has been used to transport illegal substances. Two years ago, authorities in Argentina captured a pigeon that had a little pouch of marijuana tied to its leg. The officers released the bird in order to follow it and realized that it was making up to 20 deliveries a day in Lomas de Zamora.
And in January 2011, a carrier pigeon was caught in Bucaramanga, Colombia, a block away from the local prison, with cannabis and cocaine paste. According to BBC News, the pigeons have also been used to previously drop mobile phone Sim cards there.
The director of Costa Rica’s prison police, Pablo Bertozzi, said he had seen cases of cats being used to transport drugs strapped to their tails, but never a pigeon. According to the Telegraph, he said the incident would lead to a redoubling of efforts to clean the jail of controlled substances.
“The real problem is that there is a lot of consumption. If there weren’t consumers, the drugs wouldn’t be arriving”, Bertozzi told the paper.