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Saturday, February 4, 2023
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What Were TSA’s Most Unusual Finds in 2022?

TSA officers at Washington Dulles International Airport detected two electric cattle prods packed alongside a guitar inside a carry-on guitar case.

We already know that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers are on the ball when it comes to firearm detection, but some of their 2022 catches were more unusual than others, and that’s without including the live cat zipped into someone’s baggage.

Top of the list for most unusual finds was fentanyl hidden inside candy wrappers. TSA officers at Los Angeles International Airport found thousands of pills inside the wrappers in October. The suspected trafficker fled the scene.

We previously reported on the gun inside a raw chicken, which was found by TSA officers at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport in November. And just last month, a TSA officer at John F. Kennedy International Airport TSA officer found parts of a disassembled semi-automatic handgun artfully concealed inside two jars of peanut butter. Rounding out the Top 5 are a sling with a hidden surprise and some sharp tech…

In September, the security team at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport was screening a passenger who was wearing a sling on his arm. The sling triggered an alarm and so the traveler was asked if he could please remove the sling and place it into a bin. The traveler handed over his sling and mentioned to the officers that it was heavy because it had metal in it. However, the reason for the extra weight in what was supposed to be an empty sling was that upon closer inspection, there was a loaded handgun concealed inside. Unbelievably the traveler told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him—just inches from his hand.

In November, a man was stopped by TSA officers at a Richmond International Airport security checkpoint after they detected a double-bladed knife that was concealed inside the inner workings of his laptop. The traveler initially claimed that he had no idea that there was a knife inside his laptop, however after the knife was revealed, he confirmed that the knife was his.

Elsewhere, TSA officers at Washington Dulles International Airport detected two electric cattle prods packed alongside a guitar inside a carry-on guitar case; drugs were found concealed in hair scrunchies at Boise Airport; at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport TSA officers found a gun concealed in a Playstation; an inert grenade was detected at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport; and one traveler arrived at the El Paso International Airport checkpoint with soiled money hidden inside crutches.

As we begin 2023, the mind boggles to think what TSA officers may find at the checkpoints this year.

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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