An adorable fluffy white cat was caught red-pawed smuggling drugs into a notorious jail, guards have said.

Cats are allegedly being used to smuggle drugs in the infamous Central American prison in Panama.

Authorities at Nueva Esperanza Prison said they caught a feline felon trying to enter the site while carrying a variety of suspected drugs.

The substances, believed to be crack, cocaine and cannabis, were recovered from a pouch tied to the fluffy white cat's body outside the prison in Colon, north of the capital Panama City.

"The animal had a cloth tied around its neck" filled with wrapped packets of white powder, leaves and "vegetable matter", according to Andres Gutierrez, head of the Panama Penitentiary System.

Surprisingly, this is not the first time animals have been used to smuggle drugs into the jail.

Prison guards have reportedly intercepted homing pigeons swooping in to deliver narcotics to the prison's 1,700 inmates.

The poor animals are thought to be packed with illegal substances by criminals before prisoners lure them inside with food.

The situation has become so bad that the office of the drugs prosecutor of Colon, Eduardo Rodriguez, has launched an investigation into the use of animals at the prison.

Announcing the operation on Twitter, the prosecutor's office also posted photographs of the drugs and the apprehended cat.

The feline is now to be put up for adoption and was taken to a rescue centre, the prosecutor added.

Panama has 23 prisons housing 18,000 inmates. Most are overcrowded, with the La Esperanza Prison first built to house 800 inmates but now the population has succeeded that figure.

Previously, drones have been caught trying to get drugs into the prison.

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