Skip to main content

Guns in chickens? The weirdest places TSA found illegal items last year

TSA's top discoveries range from frightening to freaky

The U.S. Travel Security Administration has released its top 10 catch list for 2022. We know that TSA carry-on rules can be a bit confusing sometimes, but it’s a pretty safe bet that you can’t get away with trying to bring an illegal cache of money inside a pair of crutches, guns inside of peanut butter, or guns (again) inside a dead chicken.

The TSA Top Catches YouTube video, with a bespectacled, mustachioed gym teacher character welcoming in watchers with carry-on rules for air travel, is a good reminder that the federal agency takes its comedy very seriously. Amidst the chaos of canceled flights this holiday season, this sense of humor about ridiculous air travel mishaps helps all of us keep it together. Let’s get into what people thought they might smuggle into the skies in 2022.

many US currency bills
cash

10. Soiled money in crutches

Unless it was over $10,000 brought over international borders (per U.S. Customs and Border Protection), why someone thought they had to stink up money by stuffing it inside of sweaty crutches is a question we’re just going to have to keep pondering.

WWII-era grenade
Image used with permission by copyright holder

9. Inert grenade

A grenade inside someone’s carry-on might’ve been a little too much of a holiday surprise for TSA agents. Luckily, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department’s bomb squad found the explosive to be inert after they rushed to the scene. The mystery remains: Was it a holiday gift or just a lucky charm?

electric cattle prod on a white background
Image used with permission by copyright holder

8. Cattle prods

Remember: It’s legal to pack cattle prods, but it’s illegal to poke your kids with them on the plane. A passenger was allowed to repack three cattle prods found in a carry-on guitar case and check them on to their destination after TSA agents at Dulles International Airport found three cattle prods inside a passenger’s carry-on on September 14.

A screenshot of a gun inside a playstation from TSA's Top Catches 2022.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

7. Gun in a PlayStation

Someone was taking first-person shooter a little too seriously on December 14, apparently. On that day, TSA agents found a handgun hidden inside a hollowed-out PlayStation console. According to Yahoo News, officer Theodosia White flagged the game console when an x-ray revealed there were no parts inside.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

6. Drug scrunchies

Someone had the bright idea to hide drug packets inside of hair scrunchies and try to pass them through Idaho’s Boise Airport. Not the best way to keep hair out of your way, per the TSA.

misen paring knife with a blue handle.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

5. Knife in laptop

Someone decided to hide a double-bladed knife inside a laptop casing at Virginia’s Richmond International Airport on December 15. Did they forget that the TSA specifically asks people to take out their machines to be scanned? Nice catch by officers here.

cartoon drawing of a shirtless man in an arm sling

4. Gun in a medical sling

When a TSA agent at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport in New York asked a man about the gun in his medical sling, the passenger alleged that he forgot to remove the loaded 9mm handgun. Maybe the sling made a good holster? Sounds fishy to us.

homemade peanut butter

3. Peanut butter firearm

Why is it that people can’t seem to leave their guns at home? One traveler was so enamored of their weapon, they tried to wrap it in plastic, along with a loaded clip, and smuggle it in a jar of peanut butter. On December 22, John F. Kennedy International Airport authorities caught the odd gun shape inside the jar and removed the contraband — and the passenger.

raw chicken breast in a pan

2. Gun inside of a chicken

There are so many questions about this one, but they almost all have an easy answer — Florida. On November 7, TSA agents at the Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida discovered a handgun hiding in the body of a raw whole chicken. Maybe just make it a road trip next time you need to transport poultry and weapons.

CBD candied edibles.

1. Fentanyl candy

Whoa. The TSA did not fall for this deadly trick hidden inside of treats when they confiscated approximately 12,000 fentanyl pills from a suspect’s candy boxes at the Los Angeles International Airport. Hopefully, these death merchants are taken off the streets for a long time.

For more wild and wacky attempted smuggling operations across the sky, check out TSA’s Twitter — surprisingly, it’s one of the most entertaining social media accounts out there.

Editors' Recommendations

Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
Weed is now legal in Thailand: Here’s what you need to know
Is weed legal in Thailand? Yes! Here's what you need to know
Marijuana leaf held up to the sky.

Over the course of the past several decades, many have traveled to the sunny, laid-back climes of Thailand and thought all this place is missing is weed—myself included. For the sake of accuracy, weed always has been available there, but it has notoriously been accompanied by stiff penalties for those caught selling or enjoying it. And Thai prison is an infamously terrible place to end up. Marijuana laws around the world have been loosening up recently, however, leaving many to wonder—would Thailand legalize weed?

Then in 2022, a change finally came. I didn’t realize it until I was walking down the street in Chiang Mai and passed a shop that had the weed version of the Bat Signal: a glowing neon pot leaf. I stopped short. Wait—Is weed legal in Thailand?, I wondered aloud. And happily, yes, it is. To that end, here’s what you need to know.

Read more
These are our favorite all-inclusive golf resorts for a dream vacation
Enjoy a luxurious golf experience
Golf resort

Are you ready to tee off on a luxurious golf getaway? Look no further! We’re taking a look at the best all-inclusive golf resorts, where luxury meets leisure on the greens. All-inclusive resorts offer a wonderful blend of incredible accommodations, championship courses, and luxury amenities. Whether you are a seasoned professional or are just looking to enjoy world-class facilities, all-inclusive resorts have something to offer you. Let’s dive in. 
Sandals Emerald Bay, Bahamas

Sandals Emerald Bay is located along the gorgeous shores of Great Exuma in the Bahamas and is one of the best all-inclusive golf resorts in the world. This stunning resort boasts a championship Greg Norman-designed golf course, which also claims the title of the longest golf course in the Caribbean. Six of the holes on this 18-hole course are situated on their own peninsula, providing players with stunning views.

Read more
How do AirTags work? What to know about the No. 1 travel accessory
You should never travel without AirTags — here's what to know
man tracking AirTag on phone

If you're a frequent traveler, you've likely experienced the panic of misplacing your luggage or belongings at some point. Fortunately, Apple's innovative AirTag device can help alleviate those stressful situations. This small yet mighty accessory has quickly become a must-have for travelers, allowing you to keep track of your possessions with ease. 

But how exactly do AirTags work, and why are they so important when it comes to traveling?
The technology behind AirTags

Read more