Weird Things Caught by Customs Officials at Airports


The airport is known for its nerve-wracking and seemingly needless screening process. These slow us down and are just irritating. However, they are there for our own safety. You’d be surprised to know what customs officials have uncovered in their daily routine!

Read on below for a glimpse of some seriously weird stuff that people have tried to bring through airports. Some of them are funny, but most are downright frightening. We’d be more grateful to airport security from now on.

18. Thirty Dead Snakes


For some people, there’s nothing worse than coming into contact with snakes. These creatures are the stuff of nightmares for many. Their appearance is usually more than enough to scare off many of us. Add in the fact that many snakes can be venomous, and the nightmare goes up to a whole new level.

However, venomous snakes can be quite valuable for research purposes, and also for less worthy causes. The groom of a snake, for instance, can be used to kill torture, etc. It may also be a valuable ingredient in certain medicines.

Still, no one can excuse the man who brought a whole collection of dead snakes to an airport in Atlanta. The man himself was South Korean. We can only imagine what he wanted to do with those thirty dead snakes he was trying to bring on board.

The funny part is that snakes are not even one of the prohibited items for airport security in general. As long as they’re in liquid, they can travel with you. We highly recommend not dealing with snakes in any way, shape or form, though.

17. Two Hundred Tarantulas


If thirty dead snakes wasn’t enough to make you choke, how about two hundred tarantulas? These deadly creatures can be extremely dangerous. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that many people like to have them as pets!

We wonder if the same was the case with a certain German couple who were caught with this insane amount of tarantulas. They were trying to bring them through the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

16. Gold Bars Worth $1.2 million


After these two shocking first entries, let’s bring some long to the table! Not all weird items have to e smuggled in suitcases. Some are brought on the plane, and might even be forgotten there. This is certainly what happened with some gold bars. Planes are regularly cleaned, and one staff member found gold bars valued at $1.2 million. This was on a flight between Mumbai and Bangkok.

This may shock those living in places other than India, but it’s not that big a deal over there. While India is home to some of the largest slums and has widespread poverty, gold is pretty common there. It is regularly exchanged at weddings. Indian housewives alone hold a large percentage of the world’s total gold! Hence, it’s not surprising that some Indian passenger would be taking gold bars on a plane. It’s highly possible that these bars were on their way to being made into jewellery.

Whatever the case is, we sincerely hope that these gold bars reached their rightful owners soon enough. It could take a whole life to save such an amount, and losing it could cause some serious issues.

15. Tropical Fish

Vacations aboard involve a lot of adventures. Many try snorkeling for the first time and may want to bring back a souvenir. However, we must draw the line when the souvenir is tropical fish. Surprisingly, these fish seem to be quite a regular feature at many airports.

The first incident was at a Melbourne airport. An airport security officer saw that a woman’s skirt seemed to be moving by itself. Upon further investigation and questioning, it was found that she had no less than fifty-one topical fish in there! This may have been a case of smuggling since tropical fish do go for every high rate to those interested.

Another person decided to go a bit further and try to transport around two hundred and forty fish! He didn’t try to hide them from his person, though. No, he got four hard suitcases, filled them with water, and put the fish inside! We’re not sure what he was thinking, but it certainly didn’t turn out well for him. We hope it turned out better for the fish.

For those who would like to know the proper way of transporting fish, airlines do offer a way to take your fish along. As long as you aren’t smuggling them, you fish can be properly packed and travel in cargo. So don’t be a jerk to fishes just for your material gain.

14. Cannonballs


Many may not know this, but they should. Even in a world of expiry dates and lost potency, cannonballs can still pack a punch after years of inactivity. In fact, they have also been known to explode on their own, causing great havoc, fear, and loss. The diver who found some cannonballs and tried to travel with them probably did not know this. It’s probably for the better that you do.

Luckily, the cannonballs were found when the diver’s luggage was checked at the airport. Those dangerous explosive objects were quickly removed, the area evacuated, and the flight delayed. We’re still wondering what the diver was thinking to carry such a heavy and dangerous object!

This incident happened relatively recently; in 2012, to be more precise. The security officers at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport took good care of the situation.

13. Grenades

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While on the subject of explosives, one passenger did try to board a plane with for grenades. This occurred at the Birmingham airport. Unsurprisingly, he was immediately arrested and detained when airport security caught him out.

12. Cocaine in the Strangest Place


Just when you thought you’d heard it all, smugglers take it to the next level. In a German airport, a Columbian passenger in her twenties was investigated. It turned out to be a good call since her breast implants contained no less than a kilo of cocaine!

11. Humans


Human trafficking is a very real and serious crime that has been going on for far too long. Airports usually don’t get to see much of this, but an Ivorian boy was found stuffed into a suitcase once. He was being forced to travel from Morocco to Spain. He was no more than eight years old and understandably terrified.

This happened quite recently, in the year 2015. The good news is that the boy’s mother was located and the two were happily reunited.

10. A Clever Gun


Pistols and revolvers aren’t the only kinds of guns that are dangerous. Nor do all guns require bullets to cause harm. We’re actually quite impressed by the alertness of the Vermont airport security staff.

In a nutshell, they caught a certain lipstick in a woman’s bag. The twist is that the lipstick was not a lipstick at all! It was actually a stun gun which could go up to 350,000 volts! If used rightly, it may even kill someone. We’re pretty sure a hijacking or murder was prevented that day. Hats off to airport security!

9. The iPhone Shell

We’ve heard if cases for iPhone, but what about a case made from iPhones? A certain passenger must have thought of this as a brilliant way of smuggling several iPhones through a China airport in 2014.

The man himself was from Hong Kong. He may not have thought this idea through, as airport officials soon caught him pretty easily. All they had to do was roll up his body suits to reveal the phones strapped on with taking underneath.

This incident happened in 2014 when Chinese airport securities caught a Hong-Kong man with 94 iPhone bodies strapped to his body.

8. Donkey Smuggler


A stuffed donkey may not be the strangest thing to cine through an airport. However, it is safe to say that it is quite unusual and worthy of further investigation. It’s just as well that airport official looked into a huge artificial donkey some people were transporting.

The insides of the donkey were neither empty nor filled with cotton. They were, in fact, holding several metric tonnes of marijuana. This is quite a shocking and disturbing revelation.

7. Rolling in Money


The German airports are quite good at their security. The German customs agency is known as Zoll. In 2012, they pinpointed something which many of us would have missed.

This point is about a certain incident in which some pastries were found to be filled with money. Perhaps one officer took a bite and was disappointed to not find a cream filling. Whichever the case, this was a clearly illegal deal. One is only allowed a certain amount of undeclared cash on any given flight.

6. Fragments of a Human Skull


Let’s delve into some macabre incidents now. If you’ve recently gone on a vacation or are planning one, be wary of souvenirs. This story again involves the Ft. Lauderdale airport, where strange things must be a common occurrence.

In 2013, a flight was extensively delayed due to some clay pots containing pieces of a human skull. The passengers carrying these pots said they didn’t know anything about these bones being that of a human. They were probably innocent, but the fact remained that the post was evidence of a crime.

We can safely assume that they pots were confiscated and handed over to the police of their home country. However, the passengers who had inadvertently bough the pots must have suffered from nightmares for quite some time.

5. A Fire


Ok, so it isn’t really possible to carry fire in your luggage. After all, it’s not like it would stay in any box, right? However, the things you pack could start a fire all on their own. So be careful not to pack an inflammable combination!

The incident we’re talking about here took place in Atlantic City. One passenger’s bad actually burst into flames there! The flames themselves were around three feet high. The culprit? A leaking can of hairspray and a normal cigarette lighter! The lighter gave out a spark when the bag was put on the conveyor belt.

This is a huge lesson to all of us. Even though no one was harmed, they may very well have been. If the lighter had sparked, the combustion may even have set a plane on fire. We can only imagine the human loss there would have been then.

In order to avoid such problems, always put all aerosol sprays and flammable liquid in a separate plastic bag. This would hopefully hold any leaks. So seal your perfumes, deodorant, and hair sprays even if you don’t have a lighter. You never know what may cause a fire with the tiniest of sparks.

4. Carting a Cadaver


Someone passing away is always a sad occurrence. However, it is extremely cumbersome when someone passes away other than the area in which they have to be buried. Unfortunately, it does happen that people meet their end while traveling or living abroad. They then have to be transported to their loved ones before their funeral can be held and they can be buried.

Whatever the case, the transportation of a body can cost a pretty penny. This is especially true if you’re traveling by plane. In actual fact, thus, there have been several people trying to transport a dead body as a living passenger. They have used wheelchairs for the purpose as well as out on sunglasses to hide the body’s eyes. Such people are usually caught and have to pay the fee anyway, though.

3. Scanning a Baby


Parents should always know better than to put their child at risk. However, not everyone fulfills their parental responsibilities as well as they should. Plus, there is no way that airport officials wouldn’t notice a baby inside a suitcase!

As strange as it seems, there have been people who put their own child into their luggage. This is usually because the kid doesn’t have a visa for their destination country. One example of such an incident involved a couple trying to illegally get their tiny child into the UAE. With such parents, we’re just grateful that they packed their son into a carry-on bag instead of making him fly in cargo!

2. Eighteen Severed Heads


There is actually a way to take along severe heads on a plane, but it requires the proper paperwork. Needless to say, simply packing the heads and then losing them is not the way to go.

As strange as it may seem, this is just what happened in 2013 at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. However, things are not as dark as they seem here. The heads were part of a medical research project. They were being transported as specimens, and actually did have their own paperwork. However, there was a mix-up involved which led to their loss.

We must praise airport security in general for handling this situation very calmly. They took it in their stride, and they knew what severed heads are used for in the medical community. So there’s no need to jump into visions of food, black magic, or witch doctors. Everything turned out to be perfectly straight and above board. Still, the heads definitely warrant a place on this list for their creepy factor.

1. A Great Sword


We get it, samurai words are excellent souvenirs. However, at the end of the day, they are still essentially weapons. If you try to bring one on board, it would probably be caught by security. This obvious incident took place not too long ago at the Logan International Airport in Boston.

There’s really no excuse for anyone bringing a sword on board a plane. Any airport website would specifically tell you what you can transport and what you should leave behind.

Some of these items are very hard to pinpoint, so it’s impressive that the airport staff picked them up! Next time you go to an airport, cooperate as best as you can. And while you’re at it, hope that none of these things find their way into your luggage!

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Weird Things Caught by Customs Officials at Airports

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