Pigeons have long been used to transport messages to far off locations. Usually, a message was strapped to a homing pigeon’s leg in a tiny scroll, and the pigeons could be sent over hundreds and hundreds of miles to deliver it. Now, however, it seems that pigeons are transporting something far more devious than tiny messages, and once you think about it, it actually seems sort of obvious.
Customs officials in Kuwait have intercepted a pigeon with a small backpack attached to its back. Once apprehended, officials sliced open the tiny pack and discovered 178 pills inside, according to Al Arabiya. Upon further examination, it was determined that the pigeon was illegally transporting ketamine. Ketamine is an anesthetic, but it is often used as a party drug for its hallucinogenic properties. Mostly, it is used as an anesthetic in animal hospitals, but when the drug is taken in excess by humans, it acts very much like PCP; commonly referred to as Angel Dust.
At present, the customs officials are guessing that the pigeon wasn’t transporting the ketamine to a vet hospital in dire need, but rather to a drug dealer somewhere in Kuwait.
As strange as all this sounds, pigeons smuggling drugs is not quite as unusual as you think. Kuwaiti customs officials have apparently suspected for some time that pigeons were being used to smuggle drugs across the border. However, this is the first time that one of the drug smuggling pigeons has been caught red handed.
The history of humans using pigeons to transport messages and other small packages dates back thousands of years. Over 3,000 years ago, pigeons were used to send out the names of Olympic winners over hundreds and hundreds of miles. Pigeons were often used in wartime to send back messages from the front, and records of them being used by Genghis Khan were discovered in 1150 in Baghdad. More recently, pigeons have been used by rural police departments in India to allow long distance communications after natural disasters.
And the truth is, as odd as it seems that someone would use pigeons to transport illegal drugs as they have been doing in Kuwait, the practice of using a pigeon to transport drugs had actually been used before. In 2011, police in Colombia captured a pigeon attempting to gain entrance to a jail in Bucaramanga. Attached to the pigeon’s back? A small package filled with marijuana and cocaine paste. Officials said that earlier attempts had been used with pigeons to try and smuggle SIM cards for cell phones into the jail.
In 2015, a pigeon was busted carrying a full bag of drugs on its belly near La Reforma prison in Costa Rica. Contained in the bag? 14 grams of marijuana and 14 grams of cocaine. Pigeons were also highly suspected in a drug case in a Bosnian prison in 2008. Suspicions arose when several inmates that tended to a pigeon-house in the courtyard tested positive for drugs.
Of course, once it was announced that a pigeon had been caught attempting to smuggle drugs into Kuwait, Twitter went nuts with hilarious comments.
Police catch a pigeon with 200 ecstasy pills hidden in a little backpack pic.twitter.com/vSB9eYtd84
— Cass Lowe (@CassLowe) May 24, 2017
Somewhere right now there are a lot of unhappy sober pigeons at that pigeon rave in the abandoned warehouse… https://t.co/eZy0xiM2uP
— Von Hertzog (@Von_Hertzog) May 24, 2017
— Jonathan (@_poles_apart_) May 24, 2017
It seems that criminals will use whatever ingenuity they must to circumvent laws and rules. Unfortunately, sometimes innocent birds get caught up in that ingenuity. However, the captured bird in Kuwait has refused to give up his human co-conspirators, so just how innocent are these drug smuggling pigeons?
[Featured Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]