Drug gangs willing to use any means necessary to commit crimes have been known to employ animals to aid their illicit activities. The unwilling critter accomplices are sometimes even arrested along with dealers, the logic being they might tip off the officers.
A raid in the Brazilian state of Piauí in April led to a parrot being taken into custody, which was keeping lookout for drug dealers, according to local police. The officers reported that the bird shouted out, “Mamãe, polícia!” as they descended on the home, a warning that means “Mama, police!” in Spanish.
“He must have been trained for this,” one officer said, via The Guardian. “As soon as the police got close, he started shouting.”
Similar “watch birds” have been found before in the possession of drug gangs.
Local Brazilian news channel R7 showed footage of police inside the small brick dwelling with a windowless front, which was located in the low-income community of Vila Irmã Dulce. They are seen collecting bags of crack cocaine that were found. The bird is shown perched on a table next to a motorcycle helmet. Two suspects, a man and a teenage female, were taken into custody, according to Meio Norte.
The unnamed bird was escorted by an officer, who carried it from the house in his hand and placed it in a cage. Such watch birds are known as “papagaio do tráfico” or “trafficking birds” by narcotics officers.
The unwitting accomplice was then taken to Teresina Police station.
TIME TO START SQUAWKING: Police in Brazil say a parrot was standing guard, at a drug trafficker’s house! When the bird sounded a warning to its owner, as police closed in. https://t.co/5pgAVP5uVG
— NBC4 Columbus (@nbc4i) April 28, 2019
Officers attempted to get the animal to repeat its incriminating lines once again, but it reportedly breathed not a word. The suspects’ lawyer leapt onto this fact, questioning the validity of the alleged tipoff.
A local journalist who met face to face with the jailbird described it as “super obedient” to its handlers.
“So far it hasn’t made a sound,” the reporter had said, “completely silent.”
A local environmentalist, Jaqueline Lustosa, meanwhile, came to the station to defend the bird’s rights and have it released, according to Meio Norte.
The bird was then taken to the local zoo, where vet Alexandre Clark relayed that it hadn’t “cooperated” in implicating its former handlers. “Lots of police officers have come by and he’s said nothing,” said Clark. The parrot will remain at the zoo for three months while they train it to fly before it is released, reported The Guardian.
Such animal aids as this watch parrot are a proclivity in the drug trade, including other species. Colombian officials reported 1,700 birds that have been seized, according to AP. Gangs and cartels use animals such as snakes, alligators, and even tigers as symbols of power and to intimidate rival gangs, Washington Post reported.
Zetas gang members, it was rumored, fed their enemies to tigers on their property. While, according to Globo News, police in Rio de Janeiro seized two alligators in 2008, to which drug dealers tried to feed the body of a rival gang member. The alligator reportedly refused to comply with the criminals.