Drug mule cat gets caught in Russian jail

A cat being held down Image copyright Izvestia
Image caption The episode has highlighted other similar examples

Security guards at a penal colony in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan have caught a cat suspected to have been used to smuggle drugs hidden in its collar.

After a chase that was caught on camera, the cat was captured and an inspection of the collar revealed that it contained a brown substance suspected to be hashish, according to the Izvestia newspaper.

The local prison service said there was another incident of a cat being used as a drug mule in the same institution in 2010, in which the hidden cargo was heroin, reports Ria News.

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The report explains that the cat belonged to one of the inmates. It was released to acquaintances in the outside world who kept the animal hungry for several days before it was let loose near the colony. The hungry cat was trying to reach its owner when it got caught.

Twist in the tale

Those details closely resemble a more recent case from 2018, which made headlines earlier in October.

It was reported that the alleged feline courier in a drugs smuggling case in the Tula region escaped from detention, dealing a blow to the ongoing investigation.

A former inmate hatched a plan, according to the Russian interior ministry, to establish a channel for delivering drugs using a prison pet.

Image copyright Russian Interior Ministry
Image caption Lawyers for the defence say that with the cat on the run, the case might be closed

The animal which was born in the facility was taken out by an inmate upon his release and handed over to associates outside the prison. The new owners allegedly fitted it with a collar stuffed with hashish and amphetamine and sent it on its way back to the prison.

But the furry drug trafficker was caught and placed under the care of a local animal centre. Two suspects were detained.

When it became clear that the cat had escaped, a pet keeper explained that it was chased away by dogs.

The cat was meant to be used as a key piece of evidence for both the prosecution and the defence.

A lawyer for the defence told the Kommersant newspaper that he wouldn't now be able to conduct a planned experiment to see if the cat would have been able carry out the delivery.

Reporting by Anna Makarchuk

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