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TSA Reveals the 10 Strangest Items Found at U.S. Airport Security

The annual list of the weirdest items confiscated in 2022 include a gun stuffed inside a raw chicken, a fake grenade, and a knife concealed in a laptop

by Michael Quinn

January 11, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of JJ Jordan / Unsplash

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has released its top ten strangest items confiscated from airport passengers last year. As you might imagine, there are some bizarre inclusions.

Those expecting amusing and lighthearted entries will be surprised, as the list is populated almost entirely by firearms and illicit substances. The outlandish means passengers used to hide them are the most notable aspect of these discoveries. Here are the most bizarre items TSA officers found in passengers’ luggage in 2022:

  • Fake grenade
  • Cattle prods in a guitar case
  • Gun inside a PlayStation
  • Drugs hidden in scrunchies
  • Knife in a laptop
  • Gun in an arm sling
  • Firearm concealed in peanut butter
  • Gun inside a raw chicken
  • Fentanyl inside candy wrappers
  • Soiled money in crutches

TSA employees are unlikely to be fazed by drugs and guns, but these items elicited some unique responses from the airport security agency.

The fake grenade led to a bomb squad being called to Milwaukee Airport before it was discovered to be an imitation.

So long as items are not illegal, they can be returned. Once fines are paid, passengers who surrender illicit possessions can procure them in several ways, with some airports even operating a post service. Unclaimed (legal!) items are sold at auction.

An unfortunate omission from the TSA’s top ten came out of the Sunshine State earlier this week. A Florida woman, perhaps having recently watched Snakes on a Plane, decided to take her four-foot boa constrictor Bartholomew on a flight from Tampa. It did not pass the TSA’s strict guidelines, with her excuse of it being an emotional support pet falling on deaf ears. Neither snake nor passenger took to the skies that day.

Amazingly, a United Airlines flight a few months back—also departing from Tampa—managed to fly a garter snake hidden in someone’s hand luggage all the way to Newark before the stowaway was uncovered.

Some airlines do allow snakes—and certain weapons, for that matter—to be brought onto planes as long as they are securely checked in. Neither is allowed in the cabin under any circumstances, however—a policy we fully stand behind.