A second pigeon carrying a small makeshift backpack believed to be for smuggling drugs was recently found in a prison in British Columbia.
The incident happened nearly two months after another bird was found carrying crystal meth at a nearby prison.
Officers found a pigeon carrying a backpack possibly made of cut-up jeans inside the Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford on Feb. 27 during a routine search, John Randle, Pacific Regional Chairman of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, confirmed to The Post on Thursday.
“From what officers described it was blue jeans for the pouch and what appeared to be sheets to secure it to the pigeon,” Randle said.
The Abbotsford Police Department also confirmed it was investigating a Feb. 27 incident involving a pigeon, but could not provide more information to the Post.
Randle said the bird’s backpack was empty, leading prison guards to believe the bird was training.
He added that the bird may have entered the medium-security prison through an open window or through one of its playgrounds, where inmates can spend time outdoors.
The union believes inmates use old jeans or sheets to make the birds’ backpacks.
Recruiting homing pigeons to smuggle drugs through prison is an old school technique that has been used for decades due to their ability to travel long distances and return to their sender.
Recently, the officers’ union has seen more drones being used to smuggle drugs.
“A pigeon by itself can only carry a small amount of drugs, whereas the drone can carry 10 or 20 times what a pigeon can carry at any given time,” Randle explained.
“So drones are still our biggest priority, but it’s just kind of a curveball when it comes to detecting things going into brew smuggling.”
Last December, a carrier pigeon was detained at Pacific Institution Correctional Facility near Vancouver after it was discovered to be carrying a backpack containing crystal meth.
“The question is: did the pigeons land in the right place or did they land in the wrong place?” Randle said, adding that the union and police officers “are very concerned” about the birds’ unpredictability.
He was particularly concerned about “those generic deviations with the use of a live animal versus a human-controlled drone.”