The strangest items confiscated at customs

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People attempting to smuggle forbidden or illegal items into another country isn’t a new game. Be it concealed in a suitcase, on their person, or via more creative methods, there seems to be no limit to what some people will try and get past customs or border control officials. From the dangerous and idiotic to the downright unbelievable, the teams at airport and border customs really have seen – and confiscated – it all. But what items rank as the strangest found by customs? You decide …

Human intestines | Graz Airport, Austria
Austrian custom officials must have feared for the worst after discovering human intestines. The intestines apparently belonged to the passenger’s late husband and no arrests were made.

Tiger cub | Iran
In 2010, Iranian customs officials uncovered what they first thought was a toy tiger. But border control agents quickly realised it was actually a sedated tiger cub. The cub was being smuggled in from Thailand, with the intention of becoming a domestic pet. Luckily, the cub was saved and was relocated to a wildlife conservation centre in Bangkok.

Source: The Independent

Live eels | Miami International Airport, USA
No matter where you’re flying into or out of, transporting live animals without declaring them is a big no-no. This passenger ignored that rule and tried to hide 22 vertebrates in a plastic bag inside their checked luggage. The same passenger was allegedly also caught attempting to smuggle in more than 150 tropical fish.

Hand grenade | Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), USA
Not to state the obvious; but don’t try to bring a hand grenade through customs. It will be confiscated, and you will most likely face extensive interrogations to determine why you tried to get a weapon through an airport. Fortunately for this would-be smuggler, the device was a deactivated grenade from World War II.

Hippopotamus tusks | Edmonton International Airport, Canada
Declared as replica hippo tusks, a closer examination by the customs team at Edmonton International Airport found the pair to be the real deal. Hippopotamus tusks are made of ivory and are a highly-prized commodity on the black market. The tusks were seized.

Foosball table concealing marijuana | Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, US-Canada border
In 2015, a Canadian woman attempted to smuggle in about 24kg of marijuana into the USA by hiding the narcotics inside a foosball table. Its street value was estimated at US$60,000 and the woman was arrested at the border.

Source: cba

Jar of human eyeballs | London Stansted Airport, UK
Back in 2007, customs happened upon a passenger transporting a jar filled with eyeballs. Ten human eyeballs were discovered in total; all were confiscated.

Live pigeons | Melbourne, Australia
In 2009, a man travelling from Dubai to Melbourne was caught with pigeons wrapped in newspaper strapped to his legs. The reason as to why the man attempted to smuggle the birds into the country is unknown.

Live songbirds | Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), USA
Travelling from Vietnam to Los Angeles, US citizen Sony Dong was sprung attempting to illegally import 14 endangered songbirds by strapping them to his legs. Dong pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced to four months in prison. Dong had hoped to sell these exotic birds, which go for around US$500 to $1,000 each in the US.

Source: Mirror

Breast implants filled with cocaine | Frankfurt, Germany
Officials in Germany became suspicious of a Colombian woman who arrived in pain, and had a recent surgical scar beneath her breasts. It was later discovered that the woman was attempting to smuggle in more than a kilogram of cocaine, all concealed inside her breast implants.

Sarcophagus from Egypt | Miami, USA
Customs officials in Miami must have had the shock of a lifetime when they discovered a legitimate Egyptian sarcophagus hidden inside a shipping container from Spain. The ‘owner’ of the stone coffin could not provide documentation proving his official and legal ownership, and so the sarcophagus was denied entry into the United States. Upon its return to Egypt, tests determined that the sarcophagus was a relic stolen 125 years ago.

Fake human corpse | Atlanta International Airport, USA
Imagine arriving at airport security and seeing the gentleman in front of you sending what appears to be a full, rotting corpse through the scanner. The corpse in question turned out to be a replica used in the film Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. After clearing the usual security procedures, the replica corpse was free to continue its journey. 

Ecstasy-filled Mr Potato Head | Sydney, Australia
The innocence of beloved Mr Potato Head was lost in 2007 when the children’s toy was found with more than 200g of ecstasy tablets concealed inside.

Source: NBC

Money baked inside pastries | Germany
One way to get around declaring large sums of money? Baking the bills into pastries, of course! That’s what a few German smugglers schemed to do in what could have been the most delicious money-smuggling scheme of 2012. The money was confiscated, and the pastries thrown out.  

Human skeleton | Munich International Airport, Germany
On a stopover from Sao Paulo to Naples, customs staff at Munich Airport discovered the remains of a human skeleton inside the luggage belonging to two Italian women. Any fears of wrong-doing were soon quashed when one of the women produced a valid death certificate for the skeleton. The two women were returning a family member’s remains to their home in Italy.

Cooked pig’s head | Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, USA
This jig may be one of the most conspicuous finds by the customs teams in Atlanta. This whole pig’s head was found out by a sniffer dog, thanks in part to its pungent odour. Like many other countries, the US has strict laws about meat products entering the country; pork is banned due to the risk of spreading disease, such as swine fever and foot-and-mouth. The head was confiscated and destroyed.

Source: USA today

A cow’s brain | Cairo International Airport, Egypt
As a delicacy in Egypt, cow brains may be sold for quite a high price to eager buyers. In 2012, three men were caught attempting to smuggle almost 200kg of cows’ brains into Cairo, with the hope of selling the brains at almost six times the price they paid in neighbouring Sudan.

A landmine | Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, USA
It’s probably not the best idea to bring an anti-tank landmine to an airport, even if the device is diffused. The discovery of this landmine caused significant delays and the explosives team was called in to conduct an analysis of the bomb.

Cocaine hidden in goat meat | John F Kennedy International Airport, USA
What seemed like a routine check turned into a massive haul of illegal narcotics for the Customs officials at JFK airport. Yudishtir Maharaj had hidden about 4kg of cocaine inside frozen goat meat from Trinidad.

Smoke bomb | Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, USA
Unlike the landmine mentioned above, this bomb was fully functioning. The smoke bomb was discovered inside a passenger’s checked-in luggage and was promptly confiscated. 

Rocket launcher | Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, USA
Still on the topic of firearms and weapons, a rocket launcher was discovered at this small airport in Pennsylvania. It was found hidden inside a checked bag. The AT4 anti-tank launcher was not live, but the weapon was still confiscated.

Source: buzznick

Avalanche charge | Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, USA
A homemade avalanche charger was found inside a man’s carry-on bag at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. As the device was both homemade and active, the individual was arrested.

Don’t be like the individuals above, so find out what you can and can’t bring to the airport! Book your flights with Webjet, with plenty of information to help you avoid any border mishaps.

Republished with permission from Webjet. Original article can be seen here

Which do you think is the strangest item? What’s the strangest thing you’ve brought through customs?

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Written by Daniel Chatterton

1 Comments

Total Comments: 1
  1. 0
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    Strangest thing I had brought through customs by my Aunt was old, used, USA number plates – and some new courtesy ones too. When asked what she would do with them she said they were off wrecks from her daughter’s father-in-law’s body shop; for her niece who wanted them for same-year model of cars in car shows. They got through customs.


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