Iranian officers seized homing pigeons trained for delivering drugs carried in small blue plastic bags attached to their legs, the IRNA state news agency reported. According to reports, the use of birds to transport recreational substances is unprecedented. A young population and an abundance of cheap, addictive substances, many coming over the border from Afghanistan, pose a twin challenged to Iranian authorities. Almost 3 million Iranians are estimated to be addicted to drugs, out of a population of 80million.
“The individual involved in selling drugs would put the substances in the boxes attached to the legs of these pigeons, which were trained to deliver them to another location in Kermanshah,” Irna said, citing a local judiciary official. “Up to 100 drug-smuggling pigeons have been seized by the police.”
Pigeons are significant in Iranian culture and poetry. Pigeon racing was a popular tradition, and some in rural areas and smaller cities still participate in the sport, holding vast numbers of pigeons on rooftops or in their garden.
Earlier, officials in Kuwait said they had seized a pigeon carrying 178 illicit pills in a tiny backpack. Images carried by the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai showed a pigeon with a miniature fabric backpack attached to its back, full of pills containing ketamine. That incident took place in the city of Abdali, near the border with Iraq, suggesting pigeons were being used to smuggle drugs from there into Kuwait.