The world of air travel has changed drastically within the past decade. TSA agents follow strict protocols to ensure the safety of all passengers. Although we find it to be inconvenient and uncomfortable at times, the steps taken by these officials save millions of lives per year; with or without our knowledge. When we read about new laws and regulations that are enforced, we might shake our heads and consider them to be nothing but antics. Little do we know, there are people out there that try to sneak in some of the most outrageous things in the world. Not even in our dreams would we imagine doing such things, but there are some people who certainly do. Here are 10 of the oddest items that people have tried to sneak on to an airplane.
1. A cast made out of cocaine.
Every year, TSA agents apprehend hundreds of people who try to sneak drugs across the borders. Smugglers often find the cheekiest ways to hide them and take great lengths to stop themselves from getting arrested. Nevertheless, authorities are trained to find it and beat them at their own game. However, in 2009, a man’s dedication and innovation made him stand out from the rest. The 66-year-old Chilean tried to smuggle drugs into Barcelona with a cast made of cocaine. After arriving at Barcelona’s El Prat airport from Santiago, Chile, authorities were suspicious of him and sprayed the cast with a chemical that turns bright blue when it comes in contact with cocaine.
To their surprise, the whole cast turned bright blue. It was the first time officials had seen a cast made entirely of compressed cocaine. The man was also carrying six beer cans that had been emptied, packed with drugs and resealed. (source)
2. A bag of live eels.
When officers at Miami International Airport (MIA) checked a man’s bag, they got the shock of their lives. TSA agents were surprised to see a plastic bag with live critters inside. The traveler was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish and 22 invertebrates to Maracaibo (MAR), Venezuela. The man who was caught decided not to argue with the security officers and surrendered them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2011, security officers also discovered seven small snakes that were stuffed down a traveler’s trousers in nylon stockings. (source)
3. A corpse.
Talk about going extremes. Transporting a body on a plane can be expensive, so a mother and daughter from Liverpool found an alternative way; or they thought they did. The pair pushed the 91-year-old through the security checkpoint in a wheelchair, with shades covering his eyes. When security agents asked him questions, they received no reply and his head slumped to one side. The check-in staff immediately questioned the mother and daughter but the pair told them that he was just “sleeping”.
The pair were arrested on suspicion and for failing to give notice of a death. A doctor was called in to observe the 91-year-old but he concluded that he had died the previous day. Although the pair were arrested, they weren’t charged since the time of death couldn’t be determined. (source)
4. Bullets inside a bible.
No matter how hard people try to conceal things, it will show up on the X-rays. In July of 2009, TSA agents discovered 200 rounds of .25 caliber ammunition in four hollowed-out bibles. The passenger cut out rectangular spaces inside the holy books to conceal the bullets. The ‘holy’ man did not think for a second that security agents would consider scanning his bibles. Although it’s legal to carry ammunition in checked baggage, they have to be securely packed in fiber (such as cardboard), wood or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ammunition cannot be transported through carry on baggage but this man though that he could get away with it. (source)
5. A tiger cub.
When airport security officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand checked the luggage of a woman planning to travel to Iran, they didn’t expect to find a live tiger cub inside. At first glance, officials thought it to be nothing more than a stuffed toy. The woman had allegedly drugged the cub so it would lay motionless and not make noises to alert officials. Upon closer inspection, officials realized the foul play going on. They quickly recovered the cub, who was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration, and delivered him to a wildlife center. The woman who tried to smuggle the cub was sentenced to four years in prison and a 40,000 baht (£824) fine for smuggling charges. (source)
6. A crocodile.
Have you ever seen the movie “Snakes on a Plane”?. The 2006 action thriller features Samuel L. Jackson and a host of frightened passengers and crew that must band together to survive the slithery threat. One such event took place in Congo; not with snakes but with a crocodile. The 2-3 foot animal was hidden in a passenger’s cabin. When the animal somehow managed to escape during mid-flight, it created panic among passengers, who surged forward; leading to a crash. The crash claimed the life of the 39-year-old British pilot and 18 others. (source)
7. 40mm grenades in a tactical vest.
When we travel through an airport, we sometimes fail to see the drama going on. Security at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) in Alabama had to call explosives specialists after discovering 40mm grenades in a tactical vest in a passenger bag. The entire baggage screening area had to be cleared; which caused a 10 minute halt during the screening process. (source)
8. 95 snakes.
Anson Wong, a notorious wildlife trafficker, decided to smuggle 95 endangered snakes in a suitcase. His destination was Indonesia and he successfully made it through his first flight. During transit at Kuala Lumpur airport, one of his suitcases containing the snakes burst open. Passengers who witnessed the snakes crawling through the conveyer belt informed airport staff immediately. The staff managed to stop Wong from boarding his next flight and informed authorities. Wong was sentenced to six months in jail in Malaysia and also had to pay a fine of 190,000 ringgit ($61,000) for attempting to smuggle endangered animals. (source)
9. Skeletal remains of a nun.
In 2011, a Cypriot monk was caught at a Greek airport after security staff discovered skeletal remains inside his bag. The 42 year old monk and his two accomplices were detained after the alarming discovery. When asked, he explained that he was taking the relics of a saint back to his monastery. Authorities believe that the trio dug up the remains of Elena Vathiadou, a nun who died four years prior. Although the practice is common among Greek Orthodox tradition, authorities couldn’t allow them to transport skeletal remains. The trio was arrested and charged with theft and desecrating the dead; only a misdemeanor in Greece. (source)
10. Turtle disguised as hamburger.
No, it’s not a promo for Burger King. A man, who is only identified as Li, tried to sneak a turtle through airport security by disguising it as a burger. The incident occurred at China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Officials spotted the animal stuffed inside the burger, when they scanned the wrapped fast food. Although many such cases include people smuggling animals for profit, Li tried to sneak the turtle because he couldn’t stay apart from his beloved pet. After officials discovered the animal, Li had no choice but to leave it behind with a trusted friends and board the flight by himself. (source)