Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Strange Customs Seizures

Immigration officers and customs officials have to put up with a lot during their day to day work. Airports around the world bustle with thousands of people arriving and leaving at the same time, and they all have to be checked for contraband. Now, no one likes waiting around at an airport- or waiting generally, for that matter- so these guys have a really tough job in dealing with passengers. What’s likely to make their job even more difficult is when people break the rules, knowingly or not, and hold up the rest of the queue. Over the years, these customs officials must have seen it all, and here’s a little list of some of the stranger things that passengers have tried to get through customs.

Space Cakes
Smuggling marijuana is unsurprisingly not all that rare for customs officials. Thousands of arrests are made at borders every year because of passengers attempting to import or export the drug. Most cases will involve less-than-imaginative techniques and hiding places, such as being hidden in shoes or simply in bags, but one man went the extra mile and disguised his stash as a caked. Almost six pounds’ worth of weed was found under a lot of icing, so it looked like a cake, and was attempted to pass through US customs. The man was caught red-handed and didn’t get a chance to have his cake and eat it too.

Dead Bodies
There can be few things worse than having one of your relatives die on holiday when they’re half way around the world. Aside from the obvious personal troubles that are associated with a relative dying, it’s often very problematic- and expensive- to arrange for a body to be transported home. The cost of this can spiral into the thousands and many people simply can’t afford to do this, which is why so many people try to disguise their relatives’ corpses as living passengers. The smugglers attempt to excuse their travel companions’ strange, quiet behaviour by claiming that they’re asleep or seriously ill. By covering the body in hats, coats, sunglasses and other obvious ‘disguises’, they hope to be able to save thousands at a tragic time.

Action Figures
America’s LAX immigration authorities had to stop an English passenger from boarding a flight when they discovered a gun in her luggage. The woman was completely bewildered and had no idea what the border guards were talking about until they pulled out her son’s G.I. Joe doll along with his tiny replica gun. The joyless officers told the woman that the ‘gun’ fell under the description of a replica firearm and as such she wouldn’t be allowed to take it on. We’re sure that G.I. Joe was saddened to be parted from his rifle but the passenger in the end just had to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the seizure.

Live Crocodiles
Not many of us would like to be in close contact with a crocodile- let alone three! But one Filipino man was determined to ship three of the deadly animals around the world in his bag. He told authorities that the bag contained fish but they soon discovered that he was concealing an all-together more dangerous collection of animals instead. He had already managed to get through several customs checks before he was stopped in Manila. The authorities have no idea how he had even gotten this far on his journey but were glad to stop him before someone, or something, got bitten!

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