Life Travel The weirdest things confiscated by airport security and custom officials
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The weirdest things confiscated by airport security and custom officials

Customs seizures
Travel site Webjet has released a list of some of the weirdest things people have tried to smuggle across borders. Photo: Getty
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From live animals to bizarre weapons and creative drug-smuggling attempts, there’s no end to what people will try to get through customs and border controls around the world.

A collation of the weirdest items confiscated by customs officials has been released by booking site Webjet.

In Australia, a man was caught trying to enter Melbourne from Dubai with pigeons strapped to his legs.

The birds were alive, wrapped in newspaper, and attached to the man’s lower legs, underneath his pants. The 23-year-old was also carrying two bird eggs.

This was 10 years ago and it’s still a mystery as to why he was trying to bring the pigeons into Australia, but his act falls under our strict quarantine laws, and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, plus a substantial fine.

A man was caught at Melbourne airport in 2009 with live pigeons strapped to his calves. Photo: Supplied

He’s not the only person to be caught strapping birds to his legs in a bid to get past customs. Californian man Sony Dong has been caught and jailed twice for trying to bring endangered, “good luck” songbirds into the US from Vietnam – once in 2009, for which he was jailed for four months, and again in 2016, which earned him 18 months in prison.

Sadly, they’re not the only animals that have endured the trauma of long-haul flights in the name of the black market. In 2010, Iranian customs found a sedated tiger cub inside a suitcase.

It was being brought into the country from Thailand, and the long-term goal was to raise it as a household pet. It was relocated to a sanctuary in its home country.

Officials at first thought a live, sedated tiger cub was a stuffed toy. Photo: Supplied

Another passenger was caught out at Miami International Airport with 22 live eels and 150-plus tropical fish stuffed into plastic bags, inside accompanying luggage.

Back in Australia, iconic Toy Story character Mr Potato Head was corrupted when Sydney customs found a figurine whose head was filled with nearly 300 grams of MDMA.

Along with Action Man, who was carrying 50 grams of cocaine, the spud was caught smuggling the drug into the country via post. The foiled plot was linked to an Irish crime syndicate.

The innocence of Mr Potato Head was lost when he was discovered brimming with MDMA pills. Photo: Supplied

There is seemingly no end to the lengths drug criminals will go to in an attempt to get their goods to their chosen destination.

In 2014, US officials found 3.3 kilograms of cocaine hidden in frozen goat meat.

A Canadian woman was caught trying to cross the border into the US with a foosball table that was a Trojan Horse for 24 kilograms of marijuana in 2015.

A foosball table was part of an elaborate marijuana smuggling plot. Photo: Supplied

In Germany, a Colombian woman was caught trying to import cocaine – inside her breast implants. She was caught out in Frankfurt when officials noticed a fresh surgical scar underneath her breast, after complaining of chest pain.

Other unlikely import attempts include a real Egyptian sarcophagus hidden inside a shipping container en route from Spain to the US; a jar containing 10 human eyeballs confiscated from a passenger trying to enter the United Kingdom, and a real (but not live) rocket launcher discovered inside checked luggage at a small airport in Pennsylvania.

There are some success stories, however: A passenger carrying a fake human corpse raised more than a couple of eyebrows at Atlanta International Airport.

Despite its lifeless-like appearance, it was just a prop from horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and was free to fly.

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