The pigeon that landed in the main patio inside a medium security jail outside San José, Costa Rica on Tuesday was making a delivery.
Inside a small pouch tied to its breast were 14 grams of cocaine and a smaller amount of marijuana destined for one of the inmates, according to officials at the La Reforma prison in San Rafael de Alajuela, which is located 15 kilometers from the Costa Rican capital.
The illegal package was immediately confiscated by a prison guard who had seen the pigeon land in the area where inmates are allowed to gather for recreation.
The Costa Rica press had a field day with the news, with readers posting jokes on their websites.
But the incident is a serious one for authorities, revealing a new way of obtaining and trafficking drugs in the Central American nation’s penitentiaries.
Similar cases involving homing pigeons have been reported in Argentina in 2013 and Colombia in 2011
Similar cases involving homing pigeons have been reported in Argentina in 2013 and Colombia in 2011. But this was the first time Costa Rican authorities had seen the method employed in their own country.
Prison officials believe that the pigeon was trained by one of the inmates.
The Costa Rican Justice Ministry released a photo of the detained bird tied by the leg, next to a sign reading “drug pigeon” with the date of its seizure. The bird was later taken to an animal refuge – and placed inside a cage of its own.