A Pigeon Can Carry $10K in Street-Value MDMA


A pigeon was captured at the Iraq-Kuwait border this week with a tiny, adorable backpack full of drugs. The birds have been famous for their drug-delivery skills for more than a century and can actually carry a surprising amount of dope.

How much a pigeon can carry depends on various factors, including the size of the bird, how much training it’s received, and how far the drugs need to travel. Rumor has it that German apothecary Julius Neubronner sent doses of up to 75 grams by pigeon in the early 20th century.

Our Kuwaiti friend may have been underloaded — his little backpack contained just 178 pills. Assuming they weigh 200 milligrams a pop (equivalent to a regular strength Advil), the dude or chick was packing about 36 grams of extra weight, plus the weight of the pack.

Let’s assume that a standard pigeon could carry 50 grams, plus a pack over a short distance. Here’s the street value of different drugs it could mule for you.

MDMA: $10,000

That’s 200 doses of 100 milligrams each, at $20 a pop.

Cocaine: $5,000

Cocaine typically costs $100 a gram or more. It’s known as a rich person’s drug, but you have to consume more of it by weight to get high, making it relatively less desirable in a pigeon smuggling market.

Weed: $750

You’re going to run out of backpack space long before you max out on weight. Even if you could harness 50 grams of marijuana to a bird, it would only be worth about $750. Maybe switch to hash?

Mushrooms: $8,000

Like weed, you might run into a backpack space issue with psilocybin mushrooms, but at least it will be worth your while.

Heroin: $7,500

A dose of heroin is about 100 milligrams and runs $15 and up.

Crystal Meth: $4,000

Meth, the world’s most dangerous drug, runs about $80 an ounce.

LSD: $50,000

In its pure form, lysergic acid diethylamide it remarkably potent. A normal dose contains just 100 micrograms of the chemical. The shipped weight will depend almost entirely on the material you dissolve or impregnate the acid into. Let’s assume you get 100 doses on one gram of blotter paper, and they sell for $10 a dose — that’s $50,000 in trips per full backpack.

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