Updated: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 10:50:45 GMT | By Cathy Winston, contributor, MSN Travel
Weirdest things people smuggle on their travels

Contraband chorizo



Contraband chorizo (© Srdjan Ilic_PA)
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  • Chihuahua (© Junji Kurokawa_PA)
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Customs officials are made of stern stuff - when confronted with several nappies that a passenger declared 'soiled', they bravely rummaged around to discover they were actually filled with...chorizo. The passenger, a 21-year-old woman, decided this would be a foolproof way to smuggle her sausage from Mexico into the US. She received a $300 fine, possibly making it one of her most expensive meals.

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Weirdest things people smuggle on their travelsSneaking nail scissors in your hand luggage seems like child's play when compared to the feats of those who prefer to stuff monkeys down their pantsCathy Winstoncontributor, MSN Travel2011-06-08T09:33:022011-06-16T10:50:45In pictures: weird things people smuggle while travellingSome people don't just ignore the ordinary rules such as 'no liquids over 100ml'. They prefer to break the unspoken ones such as 'don't pack an entire zoo in your suitcase'. Or some, judging by the recent incident on a train in Vietnam, flout common sense by carrying venomous snakes in see-through bags.From the 'zoo suitcase' to the gentleman with pants full of monkeys, we look at some of the weirdest things people have tried to get past customs.In pictures: weird things people smuggle while travellingCathy Winston is a freelance writer. true157794258A grand piano(©PA)Strangest things stolen from hotel rooms158117237Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle, Chile(©Carlos Succo_PA)World's most volcanic places157657760Mexico City, Mexico(©Richard I'Anson_LP)World’s dirtiest citiesWatch: insane plane takeoffSimon Reeve on hellish hotelsBlog: Sarah Outen kayaks and bikes around the worldShare your travel thoughts with us on Facebook! Summer holiday deals with Ciao431 turtlesA recent smuggling incident occurred in Bangkok's international airport (Thailand is a hub for the illegal wildlife trade), where a certain Indian gentleman travelling from Bangladesh failed to reclaim his baggage. When the four suitcases were opened, officials found 431 turtles, as well as seven freshwater crocodiles.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange things431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)431 turtles(©Apichart Weerawong_PA)Suit of armourSki gear and surfboards seem utterly mundane as travel possessions when compared to the gentleman who forgot to pick up his 'suit of armour' at baggage reclaim. It found its way to the Unclaimed Baggage centre in Scottsboro, Alabama. The centre also houses a Gucci suitcase full of Egyptian artefacts dating back to 1500BC, including a mummified falcon and a shrunken head...topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsSuit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Suit of armour(©John Giles_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birdsRobert Cusack's downfall probably arrived the moment a bird of paradise flew out of his suitcase during a routine search. "I also have monkeys in my pants," he sheepishly declared, and on further inspection it turned out that Cusack did indeed have two pygmy slow lorises in his underwear, along with three more exotic birds and 50 rare orchids strapped to his person. Apparently, he was trying to take them to a wildlife refuge in Costa Rica. What he got was 57 days in jail.Last month, a man heading to Dubai was apprehended in Bangkok's international airport after attempting to smuggle drugged baby leopards, panthers, monkeys and - wait for it - a bear.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsSlow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Slow lorises, bears and birds(©Anat Givon_PA)Contraband chorizoCustoms officials are made of stern stuff - when confronted with several nappies that a passenger declared 'soiled', they bravely rummaged around to discover they were actually filled with...chorizo. The passenger, a 21-year-old woman, decided this would be a foolproof way to smuggle her sausage from Mexico into the US. She received a $300 fine, possibly making it one of her most expensive meals. topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)Contraband chorizo(©Srdjan Ilic_PA)ChihuahuaWe have one piece of advice for people who put small dogs in their handbags - the same rule does not apply to your hand luggage. Customs inspectors in Dublin airport got quite a shock when a security X-ray showed what looked like a toy chihuahua in one traveller's bag in 2009. It was only when they unzipped the case that they realised the tiny canine was alive and well, travelling inside a small cage for the journey from Bulgaria via Madrid.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsChihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)Chihuahua(©Junji Kurokawa_PA)MarmosetPassengers were fairly shocked when they saw a marmoset emerge from beneath a man's hat on a flight from Florida to New York. According to a spokesperson for Spirit Airlines, they were unsure whether the man knew he was harbouring the animal, and felt the need to point it out to him. The marmoset was very well behaved for the rest of the flight, although he was taken into quarantine the minute the flight landed. It is not known how on earth the animal escaped detection by the authorities, especially since the man originally took a flight from Lima, Peru and sat through several hours of transit in Florida's Fort Lauderdale airport.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsMarmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)Marmoset(©Alan Diaz_PA)SnakesThe person carrying four bags of poisonous snakes in Vietnam managed to leg it before getting caught, but the same cannot be said for Anson Wong (pictured), nicknamed the 'lizard king'. He was stopped by security at Kuala Lumpur airport after his luggage clasp burst, and the reptilian contents - which included 95 live boa constrictors, two rhinoceros vipers and a turtle - made a slither for freedom. Wong wasn't so lucky - he got six months in jail and a $61,000 fine.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsSnakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Snakes(©PA)Panda urineBefore the liquids ban was enforced, one British Airways passenger decided to bring panda urine with them, accidentally leaving it on board the plane after they disembarked. It was discovered as the plane was being checked by air crew. Some airline staff are used to discovering worse - they revealed that in the past, thoroughbred horse sperm and human ashes have also been found in overhead lockers.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsPanda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Panda urine(©Damian Dovarganes_PA)Dead cowWe're not talking about a nice piece of prosciutto - this particular passenger decided to wrap an entire dead cow in plastic and attempted to check it in for a Virgin Atlantic flight at New York's John F Kennedy airport.There was only one flaw in the plan. "The customer had used the plastic wrap machine to package it, but as it was transparent we could see the whole cow," revealed the airline's check-in staff. Virgin Atlantic's JFK check-in is fairly au fait with strange items being brought to the check-in - one lady carried in her bath tub, without any kind of wrapping or packaging around it at all.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsDead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)Dead cow(©Kerstin Joensson_PA)PigeonsOne Australian traveller was caught by customs with two live pigeons stuffed down his trousers in 2009. The man had spent a 10-hour flight from Dubai to Melbourne with the birds wrapped in padded envelopes and held onto his legs with a pair of tights.But it wasn't the odd bulges that gave him away - officials apparently found two bird eggs in a vitamin container when they searched his bags, before a body search turned up the pigeons.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2smuggling strange thingsPigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Pigeons(©Geert Vanden Wijngaert_PA)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)Elephant with a suitcase(Rex Features)

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