Pigeon With Drugs Caught Crossing Kuwait Border With Backpack Full of Pills

A pigeon in Kuwait is caught transporting a backpack full of drugs near Iraqi border
A pigeon rests at balustrade near Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany on January 31, 2017. In Kuwait, a pigeon is captured with a backpack full of drugs on May 23, 2017. Michaela Rehle/REUTERS

Officials in Kuwait apprehended a pigeon carrying a backpack full of pills Tuesday. The pigeon, who was sporting a sleek, tiny backpack filled with 178 ketamine pills, was caught by Kuwaiti officers by the customs building in Adali, which is near the Iraqi border, local newspaper Al-Rai reported.

Although authorities have yet to identify who strapped the pigeon with the ketamine pills—a anesthetic that is often used as a party drug similar to ecstasy and MDMA—officials believe the bird flew into Kuwait from Iraq.

Abdullah Fahmi, an Al-Rai journalist, told BBC News that Kuwaiti officers were already aware of pigeons being used to transport drugs across country lines, but the most recent instance was the first time they had ever actually caught a bird toting a backpack full of drugs.

Shocking images: Traffickers use pigeon to smuggle drugs into #Kuwait https://t.co/yl1Ri2xVHk pic.twitter.com/oFGWwX07N5

— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) May 23, 2017

Long before mail systems were developed, pigeons, which can carry up to 10 percent of their body weight, were used to deliver messages between people. It's been said that the easy-to-train birds could transport messages as far as 100 miles from their home.

However, in more recent times, carrier pigeons' services have been upgraded to delivering small, lightweight narcotics.

Back in 2015, a pigeon in Costa Rica was captured running drugs into a prison. The bird was found in the yard of a medium-security prison, La Reforma, with a small sack strapped to its chest containing plastic bags filled with about 14 grams of cocaine and 14 grams of marijuana. Officials at the prison told Spanish news agency Efe the pigeon had likely been trained to carry drugs by one of the inmates at the facility, Sky News reported.

"Drug traffickers are using unimaginable ways to achieve their macabre atrocities," Police Director Paul Bertozzi said at the time. "This is nothing new. In the past [traffickers] have used cats and dogs to pass drugs to prisoners. Now it seems they are using pigeons to carry in their wares from the outside."

That particular pigeon has since been relocated to a Costa Rican zoo after officials grew concerned the bird had become accustomed to being fed by hand.