How to Sneak a Cobra Past Customs

It's time to unlock your body's full potential.

1. Friends in High Places

In 2003, a 28-year-old Swedish man named Johan Adolfsson took a nine-hour flight from Thailand to Australia with eight extremely lethal snakes -four king cobras and four emerald tree boas- strapped to his inner thighs. His plan to cash in on the $3,500 booty for black market serpents was dashed when Australian officers captured him as he passed through customs at Sydney airport. Sadly, it too late for some of the snakes; all four king cobras died midflight.

2. Live by the Seat of Your Pants

The business of trafficking exotic animals is a multibillion dollar industry -and it's more than just shoving reptiles into pairs of Dockers. In 2010, agents at Mexico City International Airport noticed a bulge moving under a nervous passenger's t-shirt: Roberta Cabrera, 38, had 16 rare, 6-inch titi monkeys in pouches fastened to his chest with a special girdle. Two were dead. In separate incidents, airline passengers have also been caught with two pigeons, six lobsters, 14 songbirds, and 44 lizards crammed into their slacks.

3. Skirt the Issue

Mammals aren't the only creatures customs officials have to watch for. In 2005, a 45-year-old woman was detained by customs in Melbourne International Airport after she'd arrived from Singapore. "During the search, officers became suspicious after hearing 'flipping' noises coming from the vicinity of her waist," the Australian Customs Service later told the press. They found she had 51 exotic fish -all alive, hallelujah!- swimming in water-filled baggies hidden inside specially made pockets, which were concealed under her skirt.

4. Love Your Curves

In November 2010, two women were caught leaving a T.J. Maxx in Oklahoma with four pairs of boots, three pairs of jeans, a wallet, and one pair of gloves hidden in rolls of fat around their boons and bellies. All told, they'd squeezed $2,600 worth of loot under their excess body fat. The police officer on the scene later struggled to explain the situation to reporters from a local television crew: "These two were actually concealing them in areas of their body where excess skin was, underneath their, um, and their armpits, and things of that nature."

5. The Cast System

People have been hiding objects inside of fake casts for centuries. In March 2009, a 66-year-old Chilean man one-upped his predecessors by wearing a real, functional cast that was entirely made of pure cocaine. A little more than two pounds of pressed blow, to be precise. What's more, the cast was covering an actual injury; the Chilean had broken his own shinbone in a failed attempt to make his ruse seem believable. After the police in Barcelona caught him entering Spain, they rushed him to the hospital to treat his broken leg.


The article above, written by Haley Sweetland Edwards, is reprinted with permission from the Scatterbrained section of the September-October 2011 issue of mental_floss magazine. Get a subscription to mental_floss and never miss an issue!

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