Traffickers turn to pigeons to smuggle drugs into Albania prison cells

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 2, 2017 12:54

Story Highlights

  • In one case, guards at the Lezha prison, northern Albania, ‘detained’ a carrier pigeon after an apparently heavy load of a smartphone making it impossible to fly, local Report TV says

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canabTIRANA, Nov. 2 – Traffickers are training pigeons to smuggle drugs and even mobile phones into Albanian prisons as inspections over food and clothes deliveries by family members have tightened.

A local TV has obtained pictures of carrier pigeons smuggling cannabis and mobile phones in two Albanian prisons, alarming prison authorities who have been warned to prohibit ‘pigeon’ gifts or allow them fly near cell windows.

In one case, guards at the Lezha prison, northern Albania, ‘detained’ a carrier pigeon after an apparently heavy load of a smartphone making it impossible to fly, local Report TV says.

The carrier pigeons are trained after familiarizing in prison cells where they are taken as gifts to inmates. They are then taken back to buildings near the prison facilities where they left unfed, which forces them to search for food in their old ‘cell’ homes, often carrying illegal items such as cannabis, an abundant drug in Albania, which has been dubbed Europe’s marijuana capital by international media.

Known for their powerful “homing ability,” pigeons have been used to carry messages since Roman times and can return to their lofts from distances of hundreds of kilometers if trained.

Training pigeons to smuggle drugs has become a worldwide phenomenon in the past few years.

Albania has some 5,500 inmates with overcrowding being a key issue. Inmates also complain of alleged psychological and physical violence.

Smuggling cannabis and mobile phones has been a commonly reported issue, either through bribes to authorities or carefully masking them in food and clothes deliveries. Police have caught cannabis stuffed into peppers and smartphones into a big potato.

There have also been cases of cats and drones being used to smuggle drugs and mobile phones to prisons, authorities say.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 2, 2017 12:54