A typical day-to-day work of customs agents and TSA officers can be monotonous for the most part even at a busy airport, but then again there are times when non-typical things happen.

We have heard from the news and social media how travelers from all around the world trying to bring banned substances, illegal goods, and even live animals and plants pass airport’s securities.

In some cases, the passengers carrying contrabands failed to declare the items; in other cases, they were trying to deceit the security officers and hoping to get away with anything they had in luggage, strapped to the their bodies, or hidden somewhere among their belongings.

Thanks to the diligent works of security officers, prohibited items could be confiscated and handed over to the authorities.

Restrictions for carry-on luggage have become stricter over the years for various reasons mostly safety, security, agricultural, and environmental.

Despite the clear restrictions and regulations, some people were still stubbornly trying to smuggle all kinds of thing including live animals through security airports to no avail.

Here are some of the most notable and ridiculous ones over the years.

10 Agricultural Threat Level: Lemon

No one will say that lemons could be dangerous fruits to carry with you on a flight, except airport security officers, especially in New Zealand.

Back in March 2014, a woman tried to fool customs agents in the country by hiding six lemons in her trousers.

She was on her way back from Hong Kong to New Zealand. Sniffer dogs at Auckland airport detected the citrus contraband.

Apparently lemons are among the fruits you cannot take to New Zealand from other countries due to agricultural reasons. The airport put the women on the next flight back to Hong Kong.

9 Commercially Packaged Cow Dung

In February 2016, a traveler tried to bring even more peculiar contraband to New Zealand: cow dung.

This time it was not an attempt to smuggle the contraband, because the traveler who came from Malaysia actually declared what he brought in his luggage.

He said it was a “commercially packaged dung” to be used for ritual burning at a Hindu temple located at Ōtāhuhu, a suburb of Auckland.

Cow pats have been traditionally used in rural areas of Pakistan and India to light fires indeed.

Still, the material might contain parasites, seeds, and diseases that could pose biosecurity threats to New Zealand’s agricultural industry.

8 Snakes And Turtles In Trousers

A man was stopped after going through body scanner at Miami International Airport in August 2011.

There was actually nothing wrong with his body, but the same could not be said to the additional luggage stuffed in his trousers.

Following a further search, security officers found bags of exotic tortoises and snakes he brought all the way from Brazil.

There were in total seven snakes and three tortoises discovered; all of which were confiscated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The unidentified passenger was then arrested.

7 Cocaine-Injected Breast Implant

Smugglers have used various methods to hide banned substances including illegal drugs from airport security.

One woman from Venezuela took it to another level when she tried to carry 1.7kg of cocaine from Colombia to Spain.

She did not hide the cocaine inside stuffed animals, beverage cans, or clothing; instead, she used bags of cocaine as breast implants.

The female officer who conducted body search noticed certain irregularities and deformation in both of the Venezuelan woman’s breasts.

She was taken to hospital for further inspections, and it turned out her breast implants contained the illegal drug.



6 Pigeons On Legs

After arriving on a flight from Dubai, a man was stopped at Melbourne International Airport because security officers found a pigeon strapped to each of his legs.

In addition to the pigeons on his legs, customs officials also discovered undeclared eggplant in the man’s luggage and some plant seeds in his money belt.

Once again, all those were considered contrabands because they could pose serious threat to local agricultural industry.

The man was immediately placed in custody of Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services.

5 Human Bone And Skull Fragments Inside Terracotta Pots

Two women returning from Cuba to the U.S. through the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had to find themselves dealing with the law enforcement in April 2013.

The two terracotta pots they bought from a religious shop in Cuba apparently contained human bone and skull fragments.

Somebody told the women back in Cuba that the artifacts had the power to ward off evil spirits.

In any other place, such finding would have been one of the strangest and scary cases, but according to one of the leading researchers in the investigation, such case was nothing out of the ordinary in Florida.

4 Tarantulas On A Plane

Customs official at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam had no option but to find themselves handling live Tarantulas that they found inside passengers’ luggage.

A German couple had collected the spiders during their trip in Peru and kept them in tubes among their clothing and shoes on the way back to Germany.

As the officials opened the suspicious-looking luggage, there were 200 tarantulas crawling in tubes along with other insects including grasshoppers, beetles, and millipedes to feed the spiders.

Some of the insects actually began to escape.

3 Titi Monkeys In A Girdle

A Mexican citizen Roberto Cabrera travelled from Lima, Peru to Mexico City, Mexico on a commercial flight on July 19, 2010.

Upon his arrival to Mexico City Airport, he was stopped at a random check simply because he looked “nervous” to the security officers on duty.

Once Cabrera was search, officers found 18 titi monkeys hidden underneath his clothing in a girdle around his waist.

Those animals had been put into socks and slung on a belt. Two of the animals were dead at the time of confiscation.

2 Baby Tiger

In August 2010, customs officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok successfully stopped a woman’s attempt to smuggle a tiger cub from Thailand to Iran.

An X-ray scan of the woman’s luggage discovered something that looked like the heartbeat of a living creature.

Once search, officials found a tiger cub hidden in a suitcase full of stuffed toys. The woman was apprehended.

As for the tiger cub, estimated to be about 2 months old, was in poor health condition.

The animal was immediately sent to a wildlife conservation center in Bangkok to receive treatments.

1 Would-Be Failed Suicide Bomber

There was a chaos at Gatwick in May 2005 because a man was found to carry grenade during a routine check at the airport.

The Venezuelan man, who flew into London from Caracas, said he had planned to set the explosive off in the hope of highlighting the plight of world’s children.

Further examination of the man revealed that he suffered from depression and had no terrorist connection.

The grenade was of 1950s US-made type, containing lethal mix of TNT and RDX. However, it would not have gone off anyway because the detonator was missing.

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