FACT CHECK: Did The NYPD Discover A Drug Smuggling Operation That Used Pigeons?

Joseph Casieri | Fact Check Reporter

A post on shared on Twitter purports that the New York Police Department (NYPD) discovered a drug smuggling effort utilizing pigeons and birds for transport.

Verdict: False

This caption is inaccurate. These photos were not taken by the NYPD.

Fact Check:

A cocaine and fentanyl trafficking ring was busted in western New York in November 2022, leading to the indictment of 14 individuals, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. A former Mexican law enforcement agent is also facing charges of helping move traffickers to the U.S., The New York Times reported.

The social media post claims the New York Police Department found pigeons with backpacks full of “illicit substances.” The post shared photos of the alleged birds and their backpacks. “#January11 NYPD caught a group of pigeons with backpacks carrying illicit substances,” the post caption reads.

The caption is inaccurate. These photos stem from unrelated instances and were not taken in New York. One of them is from an incident that occurred in a Canadian prison when a pigeon was discovered to have been used to transfer meth, according to Vice News.

Another photo was taken at Kuwaiti customs in 2017 when security discovered that a bird was fitted with a pack filled with illegal drugs, The BBC reported. The other photos can be traced back to a 2015 drug bust that occurred in a Costa Rican prison when a similar incident of drug transfer was attempted, Daily Mail reported.

There is no credible news report that suggests these photos were taken by NYPD or that these photos are connected in any way to one another.

Check Your Fact contacted the NYPD for comment. We will update this piece if a response is provided. (RELATED: Did Greta Thunberg Caption A Picture Of Her Detainment ‘Rate My Andrew Tate Cosplay’?)

This is not the first time images have been shared on social media with misleading or false captions. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim that babies were currently being grown in a lab.

Joseph Casieri

Fact Check Reporter