Here Are 20 Crazily Imaginative Smuggling Tactics That Nearly Worked

At border security offices around the world, officials are often met with some pretty dumb attempts at smuggling illegal goods. But even they must have had to take their hats off to some of these creative criminals, whose crafty concealments very nearly made it through.

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20. Cocaine in breast implants

In June 2015, a Honduran woman was spotted looking a bit too jumpy while waiting to pass through security at the airport in Bogota, Colombia. When police investigated, they found 3.3 lbs of liquid cocaine concealed within her breast implants. Now that’s a big drugs bust.

19. Marijuana in a surfboard

In 2004, a bunch of Brazilians hit upon the bright idea of hollowing out parts of their surfboards, in which they apparently attempted to hide cocaine. However, officials at Indonesian customs in Jakarta weren’t fooled. It was a wipe-out for the smugglers.

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18. Marijuana inside garden ornaments

These concrete garden ornaments came with a surprise feature – more than 1,000 lbs of marijuana, sealed up inside. A truck driver from Mexico was attempting to smuggle the goods across the U.S. Border when he was detained and arrested by customs officers, helping keep America’s gardens weed-free.

money hidden in pastries
Image: ZOLL

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17. Money inside pastries

March 2012 saw some culinary creativity employed by smugglers attempting to get money illegally across the border. German customs officials discovered these pastries with an interesting filling of cold, hard cash. That’s a lot of dough.

16. Ecstasy tablets in Mr Potato Head

When customs officers in Sydney, Australia, intercepted a package sent from Ireland, they were in for a shock. It contained a plastic Mr Potato Head toy – with almost 10.5 ounces of ecstasy tablets stashed inside. That’s one mashed potato.

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15. Pistol in stuffed toys

While Mickey Mouse is the last guy you’d expect to find packing some heat, officials at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island discovered exactly that when a four-year-old boy’s toys went through the X-ray machine. Along with two other stuffed animals, the mouse contained the disassembled components of a firearm. Not so cuddly now.

14. Methamphetamine in chocolate bars

In July 2012, a Californian with a sweet tooth hit on a novel way of smuggling methamphetamine out of the country – coating the drug in chocolate and disguising it as individually wrapped candy bars. He was caught with nearly more than 4 lbs of the drug at Los Angeles International Airport, California. Chocolate plus meth – a dentist’s nightmare!

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13. Heroin in coffee packets

Anyone turning to these bags of ground, roasted coffee for a pick-me-up would have got a little more than they bargained for. Sent from Guatemala and intercepted at Miami International Airport, the packages actually contained more than 3 lbs of heroin. Who takes brown sugar in theirs?

12. Liquid cocaine in rum

In 2014, a man arrived at Kennedy International Airport, New York, from Guyana carrying several bottles of five-year-old El Dorado rum. On closer inspection, officials discovered that the bottles actually contained more than 18 lbs of liquid cocaine with a street value of more than $300,000 and the potential to make some unforgettable Daiquiris.

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11. Ketamine in holy water

These supposedly sacred items are actually liquid ketamine in disguise. When Warren Maynard of Brooklyn, New York, was caught with 42 bottles as he tried to cross the border from Canada, he tried to convince U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials that they were filled with holy water. It would have made for an interesting baptism.

10. Cocaine in a fake pregnancy belly

Tabitha Leah Ritchie was counting on the fact that nobody would suspect a mother-to-be of smuggling drugs when she attempted to leave Colombia with 4.5 lbs of cocaine hidden inside a fake pregnancy belly. However, border patrol became suspicious and the 28-year-old Canadian’s plan was aborted.

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9. Marijuana in a donkey statue

The term “drugs mule” seemed to have been taken a little too literally by smugglers when around 200 of these donkey statues arrived at the port in Long Beach, California. They were stuffed with marijuana boasting a street value of approximately $1.5 million.

8. Marijuana in pictures of Jesus

When a drug-sniffer dog named Cesar smelled something fishy in 2010, he uncovered more than 30 lbs of marijuana hidden behind framed pictures of Jesus. A 22-year-old woman had been trying to smuggle the drugs into Texas from Mexico but once Cesar was on the case, she didn’t have a prayer.

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7. Cocaine hidden in frozen giant squid

Some frozen giant squid headed for Mexico from Peru became unlikely accomplices in the cocaine-smuggling game. In 2004, Police arrested seven people after discovering around 1,500 lbs of the drug concealed within a container along with 25 tons of frozen squid. Suckers.

6. Coathangers made from gold

We’ve all heard of the term “hiding in plain sight,” and that’s clearly the tactic that these cheeky gold smugglers decided to take. At South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, officials intercepted these clothes hangers crafted from around $80,000 worth of the precious metal. Imagine what the rest of the wardrobe looks like.

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5. Throwing daggers in a hollow book

Officials at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia discovered these two throwing knives concealed within the pages of a hollowed-out book. Appropriately, they were hidden within the section dealing with Ninja Equipment. Customs officials got the point.

4. Cocaine in carrots

Cocaine and marijuana worth almost $1.8 million was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Pharr International Bridge cargo facility in Pharr, Texas, in 2015. Some of it had been cunningly disguised in a bag of fresh carrots – which we all know are good for the eyesight, and officials saw through the ruse.

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3. Marijuana in cabbages

Also at Pharr International Bridge cargo facility in 2012, officials also uncovered another ploy to smuggle drugs into the country – a shipment of approximately 1.5 tons of marijuana, wrapped up into balls the same size as cabbages. Smugglers had hidden almost 1,500 of these packages in boxes of regular cabbages, but the authorities got the rub of the green.

2. Cocaine in dead bugs

These deceased creepy crawlies were given a rather odd role to play after their earthly demise – they were stuffed with more than 10 ounces of cocaine. Officials in Amsterdam discovered them in a package that had been sent from Peru and ensured the insects’ buzzing days were over once and for all.

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Spain Cocaine Cast
Image: via Telegraph

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1. Cast made from cocaine

Although he really had broken his shin, this 66-year-old man’s cast was definitely not made by a medical doctor. When officials at El Prat Airport in Barcelona, Spain, arrested the passenger from Santiago, Chile, they discovered that his leg cast was in fact made entirely from compressed cocaine. That shin had a serious crack.

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