Florida man convicted of smuggling lizards from Philippines in electronics

In Tampa, Florida, a man pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to that trafficked live water monitor lizards from the Philippines to the United States. Read the rest

Massachusetts man smuggled salamanders and turtles into U.S., authorities say

A man from Worcester, Massachusetts was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday with allegedly smuggling salamanders and turtles into the United States. Read the rest

Teenager arrested for allegedly using RC car to smuggle meth from Mexico

On Sunday, a 16-year-old boy was arrested for allegedly using a remote control car to smuggle meth from Mexico. According to the US Border Patrol, the RC car likely made several trips back and forth to haul more than 50 pounds of meth near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in the San Diego-Tijuana region. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Border Patrol agents believe someone on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border was able to slip the drug-laden car through a gap in the bollard-style fencing and then drive it to the teen waiting on the north side of the fence, said Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco.

An agent spotted the boy hiding in thick brush near the border, about a mile north of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The teen had two large duffel bags and a remote-controlled car with him, and agents found 50 packages of methamphetamine weighing more than 55 pounds in his bags.

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Sand thieves believed to be behind epidemic of Chinese GPS jamming

Ship's captains and outside monitoring firms have reported waves of GPS jamming around Shanghai's ports, on a scale and of a severity never seen before: the jamming causes ships' locations to be incorrectly displayed and to jump around; the observations were confirmed via an anonymized (sic) data-set from a short-hire bike firm, whose bikes are also mysteriously appearing and disappearing at locations all through the region. The spoofing has created a massive local shipping hazard and has led to spectacular shipwrecks. Read the rest

Marijuana pulled from man's nasal cavity 18 years after he snuck it into prison

Physicians removed a balloon packed with marijuana from a fellow's nasal cavity 18 years after he smuggled it into prison. The 48-year-old man is now just fine. Physicians from Westmead Hospital in New South Wales, Australia, reported on the unusual case in the British Medical Journal. Apparently the man's girlfriend handed him the package that he shoved up his nose for safekeeping. The package made its way into his nasal cavity where he lost track of it. From CNN:

"A 48-year-old man was referred to the Westmead ENT Department after a CT of the brain, originally performed for headaches, demonstrated an incidental 19x11mm calcified lesion in the right nasal cavity," the report states.

"On questioning, the patient confirmed a long history of unilateral right nasal obstruction and recurrent sinonasal infections."

The rhinolith was removed from the man's nose under general anesthetic, and a subsequent study revealed that it contained a "rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable/plant matter."

"On follow-up and specific questioning, the patient was able to recall an incident that occurred 18 years prior, while he was incarcerated," the report states. "He remained unaware of the package's presence until presented with the unusual histopathology report."

"A nose out of joint: first reported case of prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith" (British Medical Journal)

image: Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator (CC BY 2.5) Read the rest

Couple accidentally received 25,000 tabs of Ecstasy in the mail

A woman in Austria was expecting a package of dresses she had ordered from a Dutch retailer. Two boxes from the Netherlands showed up at her door and while one of them contained her clothing, the other was packed with 25,000 tabs of MDMA worth a few hundred thousand dollars. From CNN:

The unnamed Austrian woman, 58, mistook the purple pills for decorative stones, police said, but on closer inspection her husband, 59, realized they were probably stimulants and returned the package to their local post office in Linz, Upper Austria...

"The (post) office was equally astonished, which is why the police, and subsequently the narcotics department of the City Police Command Linz, was informed."

Following an investigation by Linz's drugs squad it transpired that the package was intended for Scotland. Police Scotland and the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) are jointly investigating the matter.

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Man arrested for attempted smuggling of 5,000 hits of Molly in tubs of Celebrations chocolate

Hassan Akhtar attempted to send a shipment from the UK to Pakistan of 5,000 tablets of MDMA hidden inside, ahem, Celebrations tubs of assorted chocolate. Now that's a party! From BBC News:

Police said the drugs were discovered by the postal company in tubs of Celebrations chocolates and Akhtar was later identified by CCTV footage.

Det Sgt Rob Hood said the defendant was "clearly looking to profit" from selling drugs and "thought by concealing them in chocolate tubs that they would not be detected".

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"Huge drug bust" at Gatwick Airport was actually vegan cake mix

Last week, police at London's Gatwick Airport turned up a suitcase filled with bags of white powder. Further testing revealed that the pile of evidence was actually vegan cake mix on its way to a restaurant in Brighton.

According to a statement from the British Transport Police, the bags "were soon reunited with the owner, who has promised officers and staff a slice of cake in return."

(CNN) Read the rest

Supermarket workers found $550,000 worth of cocaine in with the bananas

On Sunday, workers at a Safeway supermarket in King County, Washington found 48 pounds of cocaine hidden inside banana boxes stacked in the stockroom.

"This is an ongoing investigation as detectives try to determine where the bananas came from," the King Country Sheriff posted to Facebook. "Cocaine was also found inside similar produce containers in Safeway stores in Bellingham, and Federal Way."

Once they peel back the layers, I'm sure they'll find that a smuggler really slipped up. I bet the buyer will be pissed when the sellers can't produce the goods. Man, I really crack myself up.

(UPI) Read the rest

Leech smuggler busted at Toronto airport

A fellow was recently busted at Toronto Pearson International Airport for allegedly attempting to "import" 5,000 live leeches in his luggage. Apparently an airport security beagles sniffed out the parasites. From National Geographic:

The man claimed that the leeches in his possession were for personal use and that their waste water would enrich his orchids, (says André Lupert, manager of intelligence for the Wildlife Enforcement Directorate at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ontario Region.)

To Lupert, that seems shaky. “This sort of leech quantity would suggest it was for commercialization,” he says, adding that the man could have been trying to find buyers for leech uses such as treating frostbite and helping with recovery from face lifts. Some people want leeches for naturopathic home use, believing that they relieve pain or can cleanse the body of “bad” blood. Without prescribed antibiotics, however, any such use carries risk of infections...

When Canadian officials seized 5,000 leeches, they were immediately confronted with a problem: what to do with them? They didn’t want to kill the threatened animals—especially while the case remained under investigation. “Ultimately it’s up to the judge if he wants to view the leeches in person because they’re viewed as evidence,” Lupert says. Nor did the authorities want to be saddled with them long-term. These species aren’t endemic to Canada, so they shouldn’t be released into the wild, Lupert says...

The Royal Ontario Museum agreed to accept 50 of the leeches, a researcher at the American Museum of Natural History took 1,000, and authorities are still looking for homes for the rest.

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Meth smuggled as Aztec souvenir calendars and statues

Federal agents busted eight people for attempting to smuggle 26 pounds of methamphetamine disguised as Aztec souvenir decorative calendars and souvenir statues. The suspects apparently tried to mail the goods from Garden Grove, California to Hawaii.

(UPI via Daily Grail)

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Boxes of bananas donated to Texas prison contained $18 million in cocaine

Ports of America in Freeport, Texas donated 45 boxes of ripe bananas to the nearby Wayne Scott Unit prison. When the prison officers unloaded the boxes, they "discovered something not quite right."

"One of the boxes felt different than the others," TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) said in a statement. "They snipped the straps, pulled free the box, and opened it up. Inside, under a bundle of bananas, he found another bundle! Inside that? What appeared to be a white powdery substance."

They counted 540 packages of cocaine worth approximately $17,820,000. Now that's bananas!

(UPI) Read the rest

Thanks to a Chinese and Korean fad, California's wild succulents are being poached and smuggled to Asia

Succulents are key to stabilizing the fragile coastal ecosystems of California; they're also extremely popular in China and South Korea, thanks to a fad that's sweeping Asia. Read the rest

Ancient relics swiped by Hobby Lobby are headed home to Iraq

If you're not up to speed on Hobby Lobby's sketchy investments in illegal artifacts from Iraq, here's the lowdown. Read the rest

The used cars that Europe sends to Nigeria are filled with illegal, toxic e-waste

EU and Nigerian law both ban the export of e-waste to Nigeria, but a new study jointly authored by scholars from UN University and the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa found that exported used cars represent a smuggler's bonanza for the illegal dumping of toxic waste. Read the rest

Man busted after purposely going to jail to sell drug-filled Kinder Surprise eggs smuggled in his butt

A gentleman in Ottawa, Canada -- eager to get sent to jail in order to sell weed he had packed inside of eight Kinder Surprise plastic egg "yolks" and stored in his rectum -- threw a rock at a police car in front of the courthouse. Wish granted. But once inside, his body got the best of him. From the Ottawa Citizen:

It’s not known if the guard noticed (Damian) O’Reilly was in some discomfort but whatever the reason, the guard had suspicions that O’Reilly might be smuggling drugs. The young inmate was escorted to dry cell No. 9. A dry cell has no plumbing and guards will either attempt to seize the contraband or wait for it to be expelled.

In this case, it was O’Reilly himself who, once alone in the dry cell, removed eight Kinder Surprise eggs from his rectum. A guard had to then collect the eggs and photograph them before securing them inside the Ottawa police drug safe at the jail.

In all, the eight eggs contained 59 grams of marijuana, a gram of MDMA, tobacco, rolling papers and matches.

Read the rest

Marijuana found packed into new Fords arriving at Midwestern dealerships

More than $1 million in marijuana was found hidden inside brand new Ford Fusions at dealerships in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The automobiles were manufactured at plants in Mexico and somewhere along the way, the spare tire wheel wells were packed with pot. Talk about a dealer incentive!

"We're aware of the situation and are taking it very seriously," a Ford Motor Company spokesman said Saturday. "We are working with the FBI and Customs on an extensive investigation. We have confirmed that this is not happening at our plant or at our internal shipping yards."

(CNN)

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