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bathroom signSure, clearing customs can be a nuisance when all you really want is a Cuban cigar, some flower bulbs or maybe an oversized wheel of cheese. But we’re always dumbfounded and, sometimes, amused by those who attempt to cross international borders with animals, drugs and other, more severe contraband hidden in everything from beer cans to unmentionables.

Customs and Duty-Free Guide

Read on for a list of some of the most bizarre customs kerfuffles we’ve ever come across.

Cocaine cast: According to AOL Travel one man, traveling from Chile to Spain, was busted at customs for wearing a cast made from cocaine. The kicker? His leg was actually fractured. It’s unclear whether he injured himself on purpose to make the cast ruse more plausible. In his possession, he also had several beer cans filled with the drug.

“Fresh fruit”: Another compilation, provided by Neatorama, lists the attempted smuggling of various reptiles and amphibians — including 3,492 pig-nosed turtles, which sources say would likely have been used for soup and sex-enhancing drugs. Um, ew.

A dead guy: One woman attempted to take her husband from England to Germany, where he lived. The problem? He was deceased. We don’t mean to be insensitive, but … really?! Women’s Day says the woman and her daughter put the man’s corpse in a wheelchair and claimed he was sleeping. Officials became suspicious when they couldn’t find a pulse, and an inspection of his body determined he had died about 12 hours prior.

What Not to Do at the Airport

Bra full of snakes: Ladies, if you ever have the urge to place 75 live snakes into your bra, be sure not to show your discomfort. The U.K.’s Metro reports that a woman traveling to Stockholm tipped off customs officials when she was seen scratching her chest.

Girdle full of monkeys: An Examiner.com article tells the story of a man traveling from Peru to Mexico with an, ahem, “suspicious bulge.” Said bulge turned out to consist of a number of endangered Titi monkeys.

What’s the craziest smuggling story you’ve ever heard of?

— written by Ashley Kosciolek

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2 Responses to “There’s a Snake in My Bra (and Other Weird Smuggling Tales)”

  1. Strange World says:

    I can give another example of a dead guy being taken across a border. This was on a coach tour returning to the UK from France. The male passenger was discovered by his wife to be dead but it looked as if he was asleep. This discovery occurred as the coach was queuing to board the cross channel ferry. The driver was informed but decided to board the ship with all passengers aboard rather than report the death to the French authorities.

    As soon as the ship left French waters the coach driver reported the death to the captain of the UK registered ferry so that all the details would then be actioned on arrival in the UK rather than getting tied up with French bureaucracy and inevitably being delayed for many hours on the French side and having to seek a new return crossing to the UK.

  2. Arturo says:

    I have a friend who used to work at a Consulate of a Southern European nation in Zurich. One summer day they got a visit by one of their national who told them that his elderly aunt, who came there to visin him, had died in her sleep at his home. He was given a list of documents to gather in order to obtain a “mortuary passport”, and the names of several funeral homes in the city who could arrange the shipping of the coffin, but he never came back to get the required papers.
    Only months later, when his passport was due for renewal, the guy showed up at the Consulate again, and when my colleague asked him what happened to his late aunt, he shrugged his shoulders and said “The funeral homes wanted 5,000 CHF to take her home, and I didn’t have that kind of money, so I took a few days off my work, dressed her up, put her in the back seat of the car with the seat belt on, cranked up the a/c at the max, and drove all the way home. I told the border guards that she was sleeping, and they just looked at her and let me go through…”

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