The Citizen (Gauteng)

Now Panama busts ‘narcodog’


Panama City – Weeks after busting a cocaine-toting “narcocat”, prison officials in Panama have intercepte­d a dog ferrying letters between inmates, authoritie­s said on Monday.

The canine courier was stopped at La Joya prison east of Panama City with a note tied to its neck, said prison head Andres Gutierrez in a statement that included a photo of a scrawny, brown dog next to a uniformed official holding a piece of paper.

The letter “detailed the sale of presumed illicit substances” and messages for prisoners, Gutierrez said.

La Joya is the Central American country’s second-most crowded jail, with about 2 800 inmates.

The dog’s detention came weeks after authoritie­s announced they had arrested a cat carrying an assortment of drugs in a pouch tied to its body as it tried to enter a different prison.

Officials said the cat would be taken to a pet adoption centre.

Panama’s inmates have a history of involving animals in their crimes.

Officials say inmates use food to lure animals to them once the creatures have been loaded with drugs by people on the outside.

Panama has about 18 000 inmates in 23 prisons, most of them overcrowde­d.

On previous occasions, authoritie­s have intercepte­d attempted drug deliveries using homing pigeons and even drones.

“We continue to strengthen security to prevent this type of anomaly,” said Gutierrez. –

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