We’ve all been there: that moment when you realise that souvenir you just bought might not be allowed past airport security. It’s usually something small, nothing that could get you arrested. However, there are a few very brazen travellers making their way across borders, and with them come all kinds of extra unusual (and very illegal) baggage. Here are five infamous ‘keepsakes’ that these people have tried to bring home.
- A cocaine stuffed chicken
JFK Airport has seen its fair share of smugglers, but at least they are usually a little clever about it. How one woman expected to get a roast chicken through customs in the first place is beyond us, since most airports don’t allow you to take meat with you anyway. As if to add insult to injury, this particular poultry dish happened to be stuffed with cocaine. Not exactly the most traditional Thanksgiving option, is it?
- A husband
Now taking your spouse on holiday isn’t smuggling, but when you try to get your recently deceased husband onto a plane home to Berlin, disguising him as a regular passenger, it is. With the help of her daughter Anke Anusic, Gitta Jarant brought her 91-year old husband’s body in a wheelchair to the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool in an attempt to smuggle him home. The women vehemently insisted that he was only sleeping and refused to co-operate. Later, authorities performed a post mortem which revealed that the man had been dead for 12 hours. Jarant and Anusic are free while awaiting trial for failure to report a death.
- The beach
Honeymoons by the seaside are popular with newlyweds, as nothing says romance like glowing sunsets and long walks on the beach, feeling the sand between your toes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to bring back something meaningful to remember your special time together so we’re not about to judge this very, very sentimental couple. These newlyweds managed to arrive at the Delhi airport with a few really big jars of sand AND a bottle of sea water from their resort in Granada. Apparently, they wanted to have something from the beach where they took their first romantic walk together. We’re sure a sea-shell would have been fine, but each to their own.
- A chihuahua
A man at the Dublin airport was found to be looking very nervous, so luggage inspectors decided to run his bag through a scan. They made out the shape of a dog and while he insisted it was a fluffy toy, his demeanour indicated otherwise. Once the bag was opened, out jumped the man’s pet chihuahua, who was immediately quarantined.
We know how hard it is to leave pets behind, but rather leave them at home with a dog sitter if you really can’t take them with you. Running the risk of the sitter throwing a raucous house-party is better than endangering your four-legged friend.
- (Practically) A zoo
We’ve saved the best and most brazen attempt for last. A certain Robert Cusack really puts all animal smugglers to (even more) shame, after he was arrested in 2002 in Los Angeles after a flight from Thailand. Custom agents knew something was up when a bird of paradise flew out of Cusack’s luggage, but sources say they were completely unprepared for what else they discovered. Along with three more birds in his bags, officials found two pygmy slow lorises (monkeys) in his underwear and 50 rare orchids in his suitcase. His accomplice and friend Chris Edward Mulloy, was also found attempting to smuggle two Asian leopard cat cubs in his luggage. Cusack confessed to authorities that the animals had originated in Indonesia and he was taking them to a refuge in Costa Rica. He was sent to prison for only 57 days, much to the dismay of numerous animal rights organisations. The rescued animals were sent to nearby animal sanctuaries and zoos.