smuggling

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Feds Seize King Cobras Hidden in Potato Chip Cans

Alleged smuggler could get 20 years

(Newser) - A man was arrested on federal smuggling charges Tuesday after customs officers intercepted a shipment with three live king cobras hidden inside potato chip canisters that were being mailed to his California home, US prosecutors say. Rodrigo Franco, 34, faces a felony count of illegally importing merchandise into the US,... More »

One More Victim Dies From Sweltering Truck

Driver, in custody, faces federal and state charges

(Newser) - The driver of a tractor-trailer containing dozens trapped alongside eight dead bodies has been taken into custody. The driver faces federal and state charges in what is being investigated as a human trafficking incident, reports My San Antonio . Per the AP , one more victim has died at the hospital after... More »

Father, Son Allegedly Smuggled $17M of Sea Cucumbers to US

The charges shed light on the issue of sea cucumber smuggling

(Newser) - Charges against a father-son partnership for allegedly smuggling more than $17 million worth of sea cucumbers to the US and exporting them to Asia sheds light on a growing and lucrative illegal cross-border trade, the AP reports. David Mayorquin and his father, Ramon Torres Mayorquin, are accused of a scheme... More »

Man Guilty of Making Off With $165K of Gold in His Butt

Leston Lawrence inserted gold pucks into rectum, coincidentally named judge finds

(Newser) - Leston Lawrence set off the metal detectors at his employer, the Royal Canadian Mint, nearly 30 times in three months, but other workers could never find evidence of anything on him, the CBC notes. Wednesday, however, he was found guilty of smuggling out 22 gold pucks worth $165,000, and... More »

Man Tries to Smuggle Himself Inside His Own Suitcase

More impressive: He's 6 feet tall

(Newser) - Border guards in Switzerland received quite a shock Monday as they watched a full-grown man emerge from inside a normal suitcase. The AP reports the 21-year-old man from Eritrea was trying to smuggle himself into Switzerland aboard a train from Italy. Guards boarded the train to check passenger documents and... More »

20 Children Ditched by Smugglers Perish in Sahara

They were part of a group of 34 migrants

(Newser) - A group of nearly three dozen migrants, most of them kids, paid smugglers to whisk them out of Niger and Nigeria and to a new life to the north—but instead paid the ultimate price. The five men, nine women, and 20 minors were found dead Sunday in the Sahara,... More »

Alleged Smuggler Caught With 20 Puppies in Crate

The dogs will be put up for adoption

(Newser) - Authorities say a smuggling suspect was arrested after 23 dogs—including 20 puppies packed in a nearly airless crate—were seized from an SUV at the US-Mexico border. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the driver told officials at the San Ysidro border crossing on Saturday that he had picked up... More »

NASCAR Driver in Huge Tobacco-Smuggling Bust

Derek White faces 7 charges

(Newser) - Seven hundred Canadian and US officers were involved in almost 70 searches Wednesday that led to the largest tobbaco-smuggling bust in North American history, NBC Sports reports. Almost 60 people were arrested, including NASCAR driver/owner Derek White, who turned himself in Wednesday after hearing about a warrant out for his... More »

Man Allegedly Smuggled Live Birds in His Pants

Authorities say he had a few more in a fanny pack

(Newser) - We would have been concerned about birds' well-documented taste for worms, but to each their own. A traveler arriving from Cuba was caught trying to smuggle nine live birds—three of them in the "groin area" of his pants—Jan. 9 at Miami International Airport, according to US Customs... More »

The 6 Oddest Things Seized by Customs in 2015

Smugglers will put drugs into anything

(Newser) - Customs and Border Protection released its list of the 10 weirdest things it seized in 2015, and as ABC News reports, everything from bugs to drugs to hoverboards made the list in a testament to smugglers' ongoing battle between impressive creativity and astounding stupidity. Here are six of the oddest... More »

Cops: Smuggler Caught Using Fake Border Patrol SUV

'Something was not quite right'

(Newser) - There's such a fine line between clever and stupid. On Thursday, a Border Patrol agent in Laredo, Texas, stopped a man allegedly attempting to smuggle a dozen undocumented immigrants in the back of a fake Border Patrol SUV, the New York Daily News reports. "To a casual observer,... More »

Couple Charged With Smuggling Hundreds of Sea Turtle Eggs

They're worth $3 to $5 on the black market

(Newser) - Federal officials say a Southern California couple has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling more than 900 endangered and threatened sea turtle eggs into the US from Mexico. The US Justice Department said this week that Hemet residents Olga and Jose Jimenez have been charged in a four-count indictment. Each... More »

Feds Bust Man With 51 Turtles in His Pants

They spotted 'irregular bulges'

(Newser) - A Canadian man caught at a border crossing with 51 turtles taped to his body pleaded guilty Tuesday to smuggling or attempting to smuggle more than 1,000 of the reptiles out of southeastern Michigan. Kai Xu, 27, would order turtles online, travel to the US to pick them up,... More »

Man Caught Trying to Smuggle 450 Pork Tamales Into US

A delicious traditional treat, but banned nonetheless

(Newser) - The contraband was carefully wrapped in corn husks and concealed in the luggage of a traveler when authorities moved in for a tamale takedown at Los Angeles International Airport. The search by US Customs and Border Protection agents turned up 450 pork tamales individually packaged in plastic bags. "Although... More »

Saudis Find Huge Beer Shipment Disguised as Pepsi

48K cans of Heineken, to be exact

(Newser) - A ban on alcohol in Saudi Arabia recently drove a smuggler to try to cross into the Arab state from the UAE with 48,000 cans of Heineken beer—all disguised as Pepsi cans, Al Arabiya reports. "A truck carrying what first seemed to be normal cans of the... More »

This Is How Not to Smuggle a McMuffin Into Prison

At least wait till the sun sets

(Newser) - The weirder stories of late about smuggling contraband into prison tend to involve drones . This one involves fishing line and a McMuffin. Authorities in London caught a man trying to smuggle a bundle of goods, including a knife, a mobile phone, pot, cocaine, vodka, and yes, a McDonald's McMuffin,... More »

Hobby Lobby Clan Suspected of Looting Iraq Antiquities

4-year federal probe looks into whether ancient tablets were smuggled into US

(Newser) - The Museum of the Bible being built in DC by the Christian family behind one of the nation's biggest arts-and-crafts retailers is coming along nicely. Maybe too nicely, per law enforcement sources, who tell the Daily Beast that the Green family—the ones whose Hobby Lobby chain claimed a... More »

100K Tons of Smuggled Meat Found— Some From '70s

China bust turns up frozen beef, pork, chicken wings

(Newser) - Chinese customs officials made a gruesome discovery this month during a smuggling crackdown, and the words of one of the authorities offers a vivid description: "It was smelly, and I nearly threw up when I opened the door." Inside the container: part of the 100,000-plus tons of... More »

Woman Caught at Border Carrying Boy in Suitcase

Police in Spain say she was paid to smuggle him in; he's OK

(Newser) - It is one of the strangest X-ray scans you'll ever see: When Spanish authorities scanned a woman's suitcase at the border with Morocco, it revealed the unmistakable image of a small human body. When they opened the case, out popped a scared and confused 8-year-old boy from the... More »

Police: LAPD Cop Tried to Smuggle Man Across Border

Carlos Curiel Quezada Jr., 34, ordered to live with his parents, can't drink

(Newser) - US Customs and Border Protection officers thought there was something amiss about a white Nissan Juke when it tried to cross from Mexico to California Saturday night. Sure enough, after a secondary inspection involving an X-ray-like machine, officers popped the trunk of the car transporting LAPD officer Carlos Curiel Quezada... More »

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