By Erin Keller
A second pigeon wearing a tiny makeshift backpack presumably meant for smuggling drugs was found inside a British Columbia prison recently.
The incident occurred nearly two months after another bird was found carrying crystal meth at a neighboring prison.
Officers found a pigeon wearing a backpack possibly made out of cut-up jeans inside the Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford on Feb. 27 during a routine search, John Randle, the Pacific regional president of the Union for Canadian Correctional Officers, confirmed to The Post on Thursday.
“From what officers described, it was blue jeans for the pouch and what appeared to be bed sheets for securing it to the pigeon,” Randle said.
The Abbotsford Police Department also confirmed that they are investigating an incident from Feb. 27 that involves a pigeon, but could not give The Post any further information.
Randle said the bird’s backpack was empty, leading prison guards to believe that the bird was in training.
He added that the bird may have entered the medium-security prison through an open window or through one of its recreation yards, where inmates can spend time outside.
The union believes that inmates use old blue jeans or bedsheets to make the backpacks for the birds.
Recruiting homing pigeons to smuggle drugs into prison is an old-school technique that has been used for decades due to their ability to fly long distances and return to return to their sender.
Recently, the officers union has seen more drones being used to smuggle drugs.
“A pigeon in itself can only carry a small amount of drugs, where the drone can carry 10 or 20 times what a pigeon could at any given time,” Randle explained.
“So the drones are still our biggest priority but this is just sort of a bit of a curveball as far as detecting stuff from coming into the infusion contraband.”
Back in December, a carrier pigeon was detained at the Pacific Institution correctional facility near Vancouver after it was discovered to be carrying a backpack that contained crystal meth.
“The question is: Did either pigeon land in the right spot, or did they land in the wrong spot?” Randle said, adding that the union and police agents “have great concern” for the birds’ unpredictability.
He was especially worried about “those wildcard variances with using a live animal versus a human-controlled drone.”