by Shawn L Fitzpatrick
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is one of the government agencies everybody loves to hate. People often blame agents for mile-long lines, which can lead to missed flights. The truth is that, even though it seems like the officers are just being lazy, you don’t know what they are looking at.
MONKEYS IN UNDERWEAR
It’s amazing what some people will do to take rare exotic species home when they are not allowed to. Three men traveling to Dubai were caught at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi after a simian was found hidden in the undergarments of one of the accused, local media reports.
You may wonder how someone would even think that a powerful explosive such as C-4 won’t be detected by screeners and security agents, but a 19-year-old Army private did. He had 1.5 ounces of C-4 hidden in a tobacco can. It is alleged that he stole it during a training course and had no intention of harming anyone, CNN reports.
A person may get away with sneaking one, two or maybe five tarantulas, but 200? That’s a bit of a stretch. Dutch customs officials at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport found them hidden in a suitcase of a German couple on a flight from Peru. Other insects were put in plastic containers and concealed in clothes and shoes, according to The Telegraph.
WWII BLASTING MACHINE
While the desire to keep World War Two memorabilia is understandable, the kind of souvenir should matter. A blasting machine is probably not a good idea. The fact that a person tried to sneak it on a plane overshadows the news that a record number of guns were discovered by TSA officials at airport checkpoint.
BULLETS AND GRENADES IN BIBLES
Firearms and ammunition are allowed on planes but only if checked and they have to be in a specific box. Hollowed-out books are a popular option for people who want to hide money or other (legal) valuables; bullets will most certainly be detected. You may get arrested if caught, depending on how understanding the TSA agent is.
They may be some of the cutest animals that you want as pets, but that, unfortunately, is not enough to make it legal to carry one onboard. A live tiger cub hidden in a suitcase filled with stuffed toys was spotted as it went through a luggage X-ray at a major Thai airport, according to media reports. A tiger cub may look like a cat, but most people can tell the difference. Don’t try your luck.
PIGEONS IN PANTS
An Australian traveler who flew from Dubai to Melbourne was caught on arrival with two live pigeons stuffed in his pants, local media reports. Authorities discovered two eggs in a vitamin container in his luggage, which made them suspicious. The birds were wrapped in padded envelopes and held to each of the man’s legs with a pair of tights.
HUMAN SKULLS IN POTTERY
More than one person has tried to sneak human remains onto an airplane. Teeth were also found amongst the dirt, stones and skull pieces, according to news reports. The explanation for the spooky luggage the few times human remains were found hidden was that it will help “ward off evil spirits.”
A DEAD BODY
Bringing a corpse or human remains in the U.S. requires proper documentation such as a death certificate. Mom and daughter tried to get a 91-year-old relative, who was pushed in a wheelchair, onboard by telling officials that he was alive, but just sleeping, when they checked in. A doctor was called in and determined the man died at least the day before.
COCAINE IN COOKIES
When U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers searched the bags of a man from Guatemala who landed at Newark International Airport in New Jersey, they found three pounds of cocaine in cookies, according to news stories. What’s interesting is how he managed to place the drugs inside the sweets.
LIPSTICK STUN GUN
Weapons, such as knives and guns, hidden in lipsticks (and even cell phone cases) seem to be a popular item people try to sneak onto planes. The TSA lists stun guns among the prohibited items for carry-on baggage. You can be arrested if you try to be this adventurous.
Popular culture is leaving long-lasting effects. Fans of The Walking Dead will immediately recognize Negan’s bat “Lucille” if they see it at an airport. Others may see it for what it is –a traditional wood-tone slugger wrapped in rubber barbed wire and even covered in what looks like fake blood. The bat was confiscated at Atlanta airport.
DEAD ENDANGERED SEAHORSES
They were found in an oversized bottle of Remy Martin in a carry-on bag at Detroit (DTW), according to local media. Michigan Fish and Game responded and confiscated the “cargo.” The question now is: Were the endangered species dead before they were put in the bottle, in which case why risk it; and if not, why would you put anything alive in a bottle of liquor?
You can check a chainsaw with your luggage. What you can’t do, even in this situation, is gas it up because gas is highly combustible. How would you even conceal a chainsaw?
An inert cannonball was discovered in a checked bag at an airport in Lexington, Kentucky. You can’t even bring replica items because they can look very real on the X-ray monitor, and TSA officers don’t know if they contain explosives until explosive detection professionals inspect it. This will result in closures of the checkpoint/checked bag screening areas and missed and delayed flights.
“Do not go where the path leads, travel instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” @wbbrjp