By Tanya Silverman
Photo by Elliott Brown.
Human civilization as a whole has come up with all sorts of creative endeavors to date.
Low times of desperation have offset various inventive ways for people to fulfill their needs. When alcohol was deemed illegal in the 1920s, speakeasies and underground liquor trade became popular to undermine the law. Now, in prisons around the world people who wish to get high have come up with lots of different ways to sneak in their substances.
Civilian drones have been developing rampantly and put to use for many different practices.
Just last week, for instance, a four-engine drone was discovered hovering near the Metropolitan Remand Center, an Australian maximum-security prison near Melbourne. It contained a small quantity of drugs. When security staff investigated, they found a man and woman in a car nearby; the man was arrested.
As the Herald Sun described the innovation, it’s “a modern version of throwing tennis balls filled with drugs over prison walls.”
Another aerial incident occurred a few days before the Australian drone case, when a miniature toy helicopter was discovered dropping 250 grams of white powder–probably cocaine–into a local prison in proximity to Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Across the world, there was also a helicopter found transporting 700 grams of heroin to a Russian prison south of Moscow. Supposedly, there was a system in place where a man would just stretch his hand out of the window and grab the stash.
Last year in Moldova, a cat would sneak through a hole in the fence from nearby town Pruncul. Why? To smuggle marijuana.
When the guards found the animal, they pet it, then put it on the table, cut open its purple color, and unstuffed two parcels of the drug. Members of the staff think that someone in the town was repeatedly putting the substance into the cat’s collar in order to run it back and forth.
Using cat cohorts to smuggle contraband into prisons is not unheard of in Russia. A couple months prior, guards at a northern Russian prison found a cat smuggling in a cell phone.
Bean-and-Cheese Burrito, with Extra Downers
A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to two years in jail for allegedly smuggling a burrito filled with beans and cheese, as well as 24 grams of black tar heroin, to an inmate. The case was apparently connected to a bigger ring of drug smuggling that occurred in 2012.
Laced Coloring Book
Certain pages of children’s coloring books that entered a New Jersey prison in 2011 were not only full of crayon markings, innocent messages, or cartoon outlines, but also an embedded opioid. Several prisoners’ loved ones dissolved a substance called Subozone–which is prescribed to treat heroin addition–into a paste that they used to draw on the pages.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 38 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said the County Sheriff, Gary Schaffer.
In 2011, a pigeon came toppling down from the sky in Colombia close to a prison. When the police caught it, they discovered the cause of its fall: 1.6 ounces of marijuana.
Not only can birds be used as smugglers, but also as lookouts. In Colombia the year before, a drug gang trained parrots to squawk, “Run! Run!” when security were nearby. After animal officials took in the birds, they responded that the parrots were actually among more than one thousand avian beings that had been trained for such purposes.
And all these are only the ones that have thus been caught. There could be plenty of other deceptive technology, animals, and food that have acted as drug mules to prisoners around the world.