VANCOUVER - A pigeon wearing a tiny empty backpack has been captured inside a federal prison in British Columbia, in what a union official says was likely another plan by inmates to smuggle drugs.

The discovery at the Matsqui prison in the Fraser Valley comes just a few months after another pigeon was captured carrying a backpack full of crystal methamphetamine at the Pacific Institution right next door.

John Randle, the Pacific regional president at the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, says the latest pigeon's pack was made of blue jeans and bedsheets, materials easily available to inmates.

He says the pigeon was found inside the prison on Feb. 27, while the first bird was caught on prison grounds.

Randle says there's an elementary school close by and pigeons smuggling drugs are a real concern, especially if one lands at the wrong place.

He says that after the backpack was removed in the latest incident, the bird was released “completely unharmed.”

“We are working with the local police because we control what happens inside the fence, but this one here has the potential to have an impact outside of the fence, on the general public as well,” said Randle.

In addition to watching out for pigeons carrying backpacks, Randle said correctional officers are also on high alert for drones.

“Our vigilance and our diligence as far as searching is really high right now and really trying to stop this stuff getting in the jails,” said Randle.

Randle said officers are pushing the federal agency Correctional Services of Canada to “step in” and “start taking things seriously” because it's getting more frequent for people to seek different ways to smuggle drugs into the prison.

Police in Abbotsford said they're investigating the latest pigeon pack.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2023.