Retrieve a Quote Get Policy Document
Call us: 0203 829 6764
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5pm

20 Strange Items You Wouldn’t Believe Nearly Made it Through Security

From a miniature horse wedged into a dog crate and a loose crocodile on board an aircraft, to petrol filled chainsaws and even a human head - we reveal the most bizarre items that air passengers have tried to sneakily smuggle through security. Items are smuggled through airport customs every day for either personal or organisational financial gain.

A tiger cub

Customs agents discovered a sedated two-month-old tiger cub in a suitcase full of stuffed animal toys when it went through an X-ray scan at Bangkok airport in Thailand in 2010. A 31 year old woman was attempting to smuggle the cub and sell it on the Iranian market.

Another identity

If you've ever wanted to be someone else for the day, you're not alone! One man boarded a plane in Hong Kong as an older Caucasian passenger, and arrived in Canada as a young Asian male! He used a silicone face mask to disguise himself and did the switcheroo mid-flight during a toilet break. He was later arrested by authorities.

A cast of cocaine

A 66 year old was wearing a cast on his leg because of two fractures below his knee. While the man had actually broken his leg in case authorities X-rayed it, the cast was made out of cocaine. He might have got away with it if he hadn't tried to smuggle more cocaine in his suitcase.

A chainsaw

A chainsaw was discovered in 2012, pre-filled with petrol. Surprisingly the passenger was able to board the plane with the chainsaw; however the petrol was confiscated by airline staff!

A crocodile

This one is a bit trickier to do! One traveller was successful in smuggling a live crocodile in his luggage when travelling on board a small aircraft - however it escaped upon boarding the plane! Because of this, all of the crew and passengers moved to the front of the plane to avoid being snapped up. Although the redistribution of weight caused the pilot to lose control, subsequently crashing and killing 20 out of the 21 passengers.

A woman

In 2013, a 48 year old woman was found hiding in a suitcase in the boot of a car! She was discovered by US authorities on her trip from Thailand to the US/Mexico border. She had previously made another unsuccessful trip and on both times was deported back to Thailand.

A corpse

A woman and her daughter were arrested when customs discovered that the woman's 91 year old wheelchair bound husband was actually dead. In an attempt to fool customs they covered his eyes with sunglasses and said they believed he was asleep. Ultimately the pair were arrested at Manchester airport but not charged.

A rocket launcher

In 2012, a rocket launcher was discovered in a checked bag at the airport. Although it had been expended and was safe, it definitely caused a lot of commotion for the customs officers!

A human head

Custom officers found more than they expected in Florida: a head complete with hair, teeth and skin to keep away evil spirits in line with voodoo beliefs. A woman was charged with smuggling the human head into the US but her sentence was reduced to a two year probationary period.

Monkeys in a man's trousers

LA custom officers opened a man's bag in 2002 after he returned from Thailand, causing a tropical bird to fly out. In the end they found three more birds, 50 rare orchids and two pygmy monkeys carried in his trousers. The man received a 57 day jail sentence, while the monkeys were taken to LA Zoo.

Texan-style armadillo

In 2004, someone thought the perfect gift to send a loved one was a cowboy-dressed, gun-toting real life stuffed armadillo! However the animal's journey was cut short upon arriving at Sydney as it breached Australia's incredibly strict laws on importation.

Two $100,000 bills

One passenger from South Korea was stopped by officials at an airport in New York in 2009 after it emerged that he was carrying two 100,000 dollar bills. The very rare notes were only printed in 1934 and never entered general circulation. It later turned out that the notes were fake.

Three land mines

Customs officers found three land mines in a passenger's bag at a New Jersey in 2012. The reason for carrying land mines was that the woman was travelling to an explosives demonstration - certainly a little unusual, right? Despite missing her flight due to customs checks, she was later allowed to board another flight - but this time, without the deactivated land mines.

5 month old baby

One set of parents in 2012 tried to smuggle their 5 month old baby (in their hand luggage!) because the child did not have the correct visa. The baby was discovered upon travelling through the X-ray scanners, after being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. The parents were charged.

Horse in a dog cage

The most common animals to smuggle include cats, dogs and other smaller species, but for one particular traveller this wasn't the case! Customs officers were particularly surprised to find a rather full dog cage - the reason being that someone had squashed a miniature horse inside!

Falcon eggs

A 48 year old man was jailed for 30 months for trying to smuggle 14 rare Peregrine falcon eggs through Birmingham airport. The eggs are worth 70,000 Euro and were due to be sold to a businessman in Dubai! The eggs were obtained by illegally stealing them from a nest in the mountains.

Egyptian treasures

In 2008, a 3,000 wooden Egyptian sarcophagus was seized whilst the owner was travelling from Spain to Miami. It was announced by the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities that the artefact had been stolen over a century ago, and was later returned to its rightful place in Egypt.

1,000 tarantulas

A London pet shop owner was stopped in Rio de Janeiro when security ran his bags through the X-ray machine and noticed inside his bag he had 1,000 boxed tarantulas. It is thought he either brought the spiders back to sell at his store or that he had some involvement in medicinal poison extraction.

Human flesh pills

One of the more gruesome finds by South Korean customs officers have been pills filled with human baby flesh. Officers seized thousands of the drug capsules, which some believe can cure disease.

A chameleon

In 2002, a 17 year old traveller tried to bring her pet chameleon with her, but disguised as a hat! She was travelling from Dubai to Manchester airport, and unbelievably managed to make it to the UK! However the creature was confiscated by security upon noticing fellow passengers taking photos.

Share this page:
Alpha Travel Insurance
Secure Purchase