RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A sharp increase in drugs and cellphones found inside a Brazilian prison mystified officials -- until guards spotted some distressed pigeons struggling to stay airborne.
Inmates at the prison in Marilia, Sao Paulo state had been training carrier pigeons to smuggle in goods using cell phone sized pouches on their backs, a low-tech but ingenious way of skipping the high-tech security that visitors faced.
Officials said the pigeons, bred and trained inside the prison, lived on the jail's roof, where prisoners would take their deliveries before smuggling the birds out again through friends and family.
The scheme was uncovered when guards on the prison walls saw some pigeons struggling to fly.
For a second I was surprised that no one else thought of this before now, but then I realized. These guys didn't invent using pigeons to smuggle drugs. They got caught using pigeons to smuggle drugs. And only because they got greedy and made the poor things carry cell phones. For all we know, pigeons are being used all over the world to move small amounts of dope around, which can add up to quite a bit if you use a whole flock of 'em.
Add another item to the list of peculiar activities born in the drug prohibition laboratory.