12 Ridiculous Failed Smuggling Attempts

People have tried to smuggle some truly insane things onto planes and across borders -- just ask the TSA, they have an entire Instagram account dedicated to it. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's not what crazy contraband the morons are smuggling (usually animals, guns, and drugs) but how they try to do it. Here are 12 of the world's most ridiculous attempts.

Flickr/Tambako the Jaguar

A tiger cub

How: By shoving a bunch of stuffed tigers into a suitcase with the real deal
Busted: The smuggler didn’t seem to realize that real tigers, unlike their stuffed animal counterparts, have skeletons that're visible on an X-ray. Guess you could say Bangkok officials saw right through her ploy. Badum-ching!

flickr/Marie Kare

3.7 pounds of cocaine

How: By hiding it in two pairs of platform shoes
Busted: Arriving in New York, a woman was stopped because her pink suitcase smelled really bad. Upon closer inspection, officials noticed that her two pairs of wedges and Chanel purse were also exceptionally heavy. Turns out, they were filled with $64,000 worth of coke. Still no idea why the bag stunk though.

turtle sandwich
Flickr/Nate Kauffman

A pet turtle

How: By putting it between two buns and making a turtle sandwich
Busted: Beijing officials stopped the pet owner when they noticed tiny moving legs on the alleged snack, which had been stored, as well it should have, in Tupperware.

weekend at bernies
Youtube user Network Distributing

A dead body

How: In plain sight, of course
Busted: Two women were caught trying to recreate Weekend at Bernie’s as they rolled their deceased 91-year-old relative through security in a wheelchair, covering his face with sunglasses and claiming he was asleep. They were trying to get the man from Liverpool to Germany.

flickr/Oriol Salvador

Tropical fish

How: In a homemade apron designed to hold bags of water
Busted: A Melbourne International Airport customs officer's ears perked up at the sound of sloshing from underneath a very uncomfortable looking woman’s skirt. Turns out what he heard was 51 tropical fish (worth $30,000) swimming inside 15 bags of water, which were attached to her custom-made apron.

Wikimedia Commons/Asim18


How: By hiding it in a vibrator
Busted: One Ukrainian woman probably thought that her vibrator would scare off customs officers in Kiev when she hid weed in the battery compartment. She was wrong.

flickr/Jônatas Cunha


How: Inside a pair of pants, that the dude was wearing
Busted: Despite individually wrapping and taping each unsedated hummingbird into a piece of cloth that he then placed inside the crotch of his pants, an excessively fidgety Dutchman apparently didn't wrap up the birds pointy beaks. It didn't take long for his squirming to catch the attention of airport officials in Rochambeau airport in Cayenne, French Guiana.

Flickr/Uk Home Office

More cocaine

How: In a bunch of fake plantains
Busted: On a flight from Ghana to London, officials discovered hollowed-out plantains among a delivery of produce. The fruit was filled with 16.5lbs of cocaine, worth over a million dollars.

flickr/tambako the jaguar

A chameleon

How: By wearing it as a hat
Busted: Seriously, a 17-year-old girl managed to get her pet chameleon from Dubai to Manchester by wearing it on her head. For the entire flight. Perched on her headscarf, it did what chameleons do, and went unnoticed. At least until it flicked its tongue while waiting at baggage claim and airport personnel took a closer look at the clever chapeau.



How: In a bra, naturally
Busted: Airport security in Stockholm wasn’t too concerned with one well-endowed passenger's lovely pair of breasts until the woman kept repeatedly adjusting her bra. Suspicions were raised, and it was soon revealed that her bra was filled with 65 snakes and seven lizards.


And even more cocaine

How: By wearing it as a cast on a "broken" leg
Busted: You read correctly, as a cast, not in a cast. A 66-year-old man heading from Chile to Barcelona made an entire cast out of cocaine and wore it to the airport. And to really sell the charade, he's said to have even intentionally broken his leg. That's insane. What, for the benefit of the X-ray machine? In any case, the stunt might’ve worked except that the idiot had even more blow stashed in his bag -- the police ultimately seized 10.5lbs of coke off him.

Wikimedia Commons

A horse

How: By pretending it was a dog
Busted: Baggage handlers thought the dog looked a little odd as they were unloading its cage off a flight from Germany to Atlanta. Turns out, it was actually a miniature horse. Trick!

Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's über-efficient German associate travel editor, and has had frequent flyer status since she was born in a Lufthansa terminal. Follow her @Sohostyle