A police raid in Brazil has netted an unlikely suspect: a parrot who allegedly warned targeted drug dealers of the police presence by shouting “Mom, the police!”
Brazil’s press was awash last week in reports about the so-called papagaio do tráfico–or drug-trafficking parrot–a green-feathered bird in the poverty-stricken Vila Irmã Dulce community in Piauí, that had allegedly been trained by its crack-dealing owners to alert them in case of such a raid.
One officer involved in the operation told the press:
“He must have been trained for this. As soon as the police got close he started shouting.”
The parrot, along with the local couple with whom it lived, was seized by police in the raid.
A reporter who encountered the incarcerated look-out bird on Tuesday noted that the creature was “super obedient” and kept its beak sealed upon being taken into custody by the state.
The journalist added that the bird practiced its right to remain silent, explaining:
“So far it hasn’t made a sound … completely silent.”
According to The Guardian, local veterinarian Alexandre Clark confirmed that the parrot was not snitch, noting:
“Lots of police officers have come by and he’s said nothing.”
Reports from broadcaster Globo added that the Brazilian government will likely be lenient on the perpetrator parrot, having granted custody of the bird to the local Teresina zoo where it will learn to fly before being released after three months.
The bird’s owner, nicknamed India, had previously been arrested twice for drug trafficking, while her husband, Edvan, was arrested for possession of crack cocaine during the raid.
Their 16-year-old daughter, who was discovered hiding cannabis in her underwear, was released with a stern warning.
A number of animals have been associated with criminal drug gangs in the South American country, according to The Guardian, but most of them have been reptiles.
A 2008 drug raid in western Rio de Janeiro resulted in the seizure of two small alligators by police, who claimed that the local criminal syndicate would feed their enemies to the gators as a means of both terrorizing rivals and disposing of their corpses.
One official noted:
“Alligators are a symbol of the narcos’ power. When they can get a rival dealer, they kill the criminal and give it to the alligators, who are carnivores.”
The father of one of the accused rejected the accusation, however, explaining that when the gang had attempted to feed a corpse to one of the alligators, it refused to dine on it.
In 2017, Argentine police shot a carrier pigeon down as it flew into a prison, after which it was discovered to have been carrying over a quarter-ounce of cannabis, 44 Rivotril pills and a USB thumb drive in a miniature backpack sewn into its feathers. Police noticed the pigeon flying in and out of the prison over a number of days before intercepting the bird.
Earlier that same year, Kuwaiti authorities captured a pigeon that was carrying 178 ecstasy pills, also in a small backpack.