Apparently some criminals in Russia avoid jail sentences and are sent instead to penal colonies, which are closed compounds resembling Laconian communes instead of prison blocks.
And apparently using cats to smuggle drugs into penal colonies is a favorite pastime among the Russkies — every few months a new story hits the headlines, detailing doomed drug delivery operations using kitties as couriers.
The latest comes to us courtesy of Tatarstan, where an inmate’s non-incarcerated confederates withheld food from a cat for a few days, then slipped hash in a hidden sleeve in kitty’s collar before setting him loose near the penal colony.
The hungry cat headed toward the compound where an inmate was presumably waiting with pungent chow to lure his unsuspecting mule. But guards realized there was something odd about the cat, and after a short chase around the grounds they were able to corner the purrpetrator, according to the BBC.
Here’s the sneaky tortoiseshell immediately after penal colony guards intercepted him in late October. He doesn’t look happy that he’s been caught and he’s missed some meals:
Meanwhile in the city of Novomoskovsk a case against a local inmate is on the brink of collapse after the cat who allegedly delivered drugs to him managed to escape from custody.
The slippery kitty was allegedly an accomplished mule when authorities nabbed him and found heroin in his collar. Three witnesses told prosecutors the tabby was a reliable enough courier that his owner, Eduard Dolgintsev, took regular drug orders for other inmates, per Russian media reports.
The defense isn’t buying it.
Dolgintsev’s attorney told Russian newspapers he wanted to run experiments to see if the cat really would make reliable runs to and from the penal colony, hoping to demonstrate to the court that the idea was more fanciful than feasible.
The cat, who was considered evidence in the case, was kept in a “secure location” in a petting zoo facility, but when Dolgintsev’s attorney went there to check on the feline he was told it had slipped custody earlier, when staff let it out of the enclosure to get exercise and two dogs began creating commotion.
With the kitty’s dramatic escape, the case against the inmate looks shaky. A Russian legal expert told Kommersant.ru that the case would be dismissed unless “proof was previously obtained that the cat really did serve as an instrument in the crime.” Proof like lab test results showing traces of heroin on the his fur, for instance.
In the meantime, a very interested Buddy is wondering if the same method could be used to smuggle catnip and silvervine into The Big House, aka Animal Control…