People will do the strangest things for money, even if it means putting their lives in danger or spending time in jail. In 2006 one woman attempted to smuggle an actual human skull through customs. And the worst part is that it still had skin, teeth, and hair attached. Evidently, the woman who was returning to the U.S. from Haiti was hoping to use the skull to perform voodoo rituals.
And then there was the guy who tried to smuggle cocaine by way of goat meat. The 24-year-old placed seven pounds of cocaine inside frozen goat meat and it was all revealed when it went through an X-ray. Officers then drilled inside the meat and tested it. Sure enough, it turned out to be cocaine and the man was arrested and handed over to Homeland Security.
Drugs and human body parts aren’t the only things that people have tried to smuggle. Oddly enough, some take their chances and try to smuggle in live animals. When flying from Bangkok to Iran in 2010, one woman attempted to sneak a two-month-old tiger cub. Officers were alerted when the woman had trouble checking in an over-sized bag. They realized it was a “real live cat” when the bag went through the X-ray. She had packed it with a bunch of stuffed animals, evidently hoping it would blend in. So, why on earth would she try to travel with a live tiger? It turns out the tiger was worth more than $3,000 on the black market in Iran. Apparently exotic pets are said to be status symbols there.
The latest and greatest of these smuggling charades involves a man who tried to sneak live snakes by stuffing them inside his socks. Yikes…sound pretty scary.
The Chinese national, known as Chaoyi Le, pleaded guilty to violating wildlife regulations in a U.S. court on Tuesday. The 28-year-old resides in Mississauga, Ontario.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Le was stopped on the Queenstown-Lewiston bridge as he was attempting to enter Canada from New York. Authorities discovered three albino Western hog-nosed snakes in his socks that he had been trying to hide, hoping to mail them to China.
Authorities also found out that Le had mailed seven live ball pythons from Amherst to Shanghai earlier that day. He used the U.S. Postal Service to ship the snakes and wrote a false name on the return address on the package, claiming that it held candy, belts, and chocolate.
The snakes were immediately seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after they inspected the package, which had an estimated value of $3,300.
In 2014, Le failed to report in court and he was arrested in Los Angeles when he got off a flight that arrived from Shanghai.
Facing up to five years in jail, Le is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30th in the U.S. District Court.
Le learned the hard way, just like all those before him that you can’t mess with smuggling live animals into other countries. He is a perfect example of just how easy it is to get caught and it is no small punishment.