A smuggler travelling across Sweden’s western border recently baffled customs officials who found over 500 cowboy hats stashed in the back of his car along with a large quantity of booze and cigarettes.
“This is our largest seizure of cowboy hats,” said Morten Nystuen of the Kongsvinger customs.
“We’ve had to confiscate clothes before, but never cowboy hats,” he said.
The driver was reportedly a Polish man who was travelling across Sweden’s (wild) western border from Arviken towards Norway’s capital Oslo on Tuesday night.
When officials searched his car, they uncovered some 12,400 cigarettes, 20 kilogrammes of tobacco, 144 litres of beer and 32 litres of wine.
And crammed in the back of the vehicle were 540 cowboy hats.
The booty had a street value of 121,000 Norwegian kroner ($20,742).
“The large sums witheld in this case certainly merit a custodial sentence,” said Rune Bekkemoen of the local police.
The Polish outlaw was handed over to police, and spent the night in gaol. He currently remains in police custody.
It is alleged that the man has friends in Oslo who run a shop, and the bounty was intended for them.
It remains unclear as to whether Norway is now suffering a cowboy-hat shortage.
South Korea is stepping up customs inspections to stop the smuggling of pills made from dead human foetuses or deceased infants as such pills could pose serious health hazards. They are smuggled in from China.
Smuggling of the so-called “human flesh capsules” taken by men who believe it enhances sexual performance has increased since the first case was caught in August last year.
Customs authorities have so far uncovered 35 attempts to bring in such pills, totaling 17,451 capsules, in travelers’ luggage or by mail.
Such pills are believed to be sold as stamina enhancement drugs, but customs officials said they are contaminated with “super bacteria” and other disease-causing organisms and could cause serious health problems.
Some of those pills are smuggled in capsules of other legitimate drugs to disguise the contents.
Officials said they will strengthen inspections of drugs arriving from China, especially such cities as Yanji, Jilin, Qingdao and Tianjin, where many of human flesh pills are believed to be produced.
Cindy Davidson purchased a box of tampons on Sunday at a Utah store. When she returned home, she found that the feminine care products were filled with cocaine.
The discovery has prompted an investigation by Salt Lake City police, who suspect that the stuffed tampons were part of a drug smuggling scheme that went amiss.
Davidson purchased the tampons at the NPS Store, which describes itself as a “salvage and freight recovery company that sells its products in two stores in Salt Lake City.” The cut-rate retailer sells a variety of merchandise that it obtains from “misdirected or damaged freight.”
Davidson, who had gone to the store to purchase Crest Whitestrips, bought the Boots brand tampons “bcuz they were cheap,” according to a posting on her Facebook page.
The 39-year-old mother of two, added that she had never heard of Boots, which are produced by a British-based health and beauty conglomerate.
After discovering the stash hidden inside the applicators of individual tampons, Davidson called police, who conducted a field test and confirmed that the powdery substance was cocaine.
After cops left with the narcotics and the tampons, Davidson sent her 300 friends a Facebook message “No one would ever believe what has happened 2 me 2nite. I bought a package of tampons filled with cocaine bags,” she wrote. “I have had hazmat and the police at my house all night. I will post details as they become available. Totally tripping out.”
The remaining Boots tampons have been removed from the Utah store’s shelves as police attempt to backtrack the source of the cocaine (and to determine whether other packages contain narcotics).
Arizona police and border agents have captured an off-road go-kart and trailer packed with marijuana.
Recently Mexican drug smugglers have tried many strange things in an attempt to beat the beefed up border security.
The Border Patrol’s Yuma sector said agents and officers from the Cocopah Tribal Police Department spotted the single-seater go-kart hauling a trailer through the desert near Yuma, Arizona on Tuesday night and gave chase.
The driver abandoned the homemade vehicle, which was spray painted a desert beige, fitted with knobbly off-road tires.
It has been towing a trailer which was later found to be packed with 217 pounds of marijuana.
It was stopped about 100 yards from the border, and the driver managed to flee back to Mexico.
“It’s not something that we see very often,” agent Spencer Tippets said of the attempt. “Smuggling organizations are always trying to adjust and change their tactics,” he added.
The go-kart and marijuana, worth an estimated $108,600, were turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. No arrests were made.
Parents and students are in an uproar about Pennsylvania’s Pottstown Middle School’s recent ban of “open top boots” because kids have been allegedly using the footwear to sneak contraband into class.
The boots in question are mostly Uggs according to Pottstown School District director of community relations John Armato.
Though the letter sent home to parents Wednesday notifying them of the mid-calf boot ban did not specify what kind of contraband the middle school mules have been smuggling in their Uggs, cell phones and personal devices are strictly forbidden in class.
“Students may continue to wear outdoor boots to and from school to protect them from cold, snow and ice but need to change into a pair of sneakers or shoes before entering homeroom. Students may also continue to wear lace up, tight at the ankle, boots, shoes and high top sneakers,” Principal Gail Cooper wrote in the letter home.
The ban goes into effect Monday.
A Czech national was nabbed in Argentina for trying to board a transatlantic flight with 247 live animals including poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles packed in a bulging suitcase.
The man identified as Karel Abelovsky, 51, was caught while trying to board a flight for Madrid when shocked baggage X-ray technicians and staff at the Iberia Airlines desk at Ezeiza Airport in greater Buenos Aires noticed “organic substances moving inside.”
When they opened the bag, they found more than 200 reptiles and mollusks, among them nine species of poisonous snakes including South American pitvipers, packed in clear plastic containers.
There were also 15 venomous vipers, including two yararas – which can measure up to 1.50 metres (five feet) – and several young boas.
Some of the animals were reported to be extremely rare and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Two of the animals were found dead and most of the others could have suffered the same fate due to a lack of oxygen if the suitcase had been placed in the plane’s cargo area.
The discovery was made on December 7 but only recently came to light.
A judge has charged Abelovsky with attempted smuggling, and he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Researchers suspect that an exotic species smuggling ring was behind the trafficking attempt.
Bolivian drug-smugglers seem to be running low on ingenious ways to hide their masses of cocaine.
Disguising the stash as flour or washing-up powder appears to be a little too old school for South American drug-runners – with the new method of choice being to wrap their blocks in Swastikas.
A van carrying 204kg of cocaine in brick-type moulds plastered with the Nazi stamp is the latest bust, as authorities attempt to stamp down on the raging drug trade.
The branding destroyed all chances of the smugglers making it safely to a farm to have the drugs cut, with Special Counter-Narcotics Police Force (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotrafico – FELCN) intercepting the van in the town of Warnes. The anti-narcotics chief confirmed it was the first time a shipment had been discovered with this symbol.
A South African woman has been caught smuggling cocaine in her dreadlocks by customs officials at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Nobanda Nolubabalo, 23, was searched by police after arriving in Bangkok on a Qatar Airways flight from Sao Paulo via Doha.
Police saidthey had noticed a white substance in her hair, and upon searching Nolubabalo’s dreadlocks, found 3.3 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated 4.5 million baht ($145,000). Police said Nolubabalo admitted to smuggling the drugs in her dreadlocks. She was to be paid 60,000 baht ($1,900) to deliver the cocaine to a customer at a hotel in Bangkok, Thai media reported.
Nolubabalo, nicknamed “Babsie,” is from Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province. Thailand has severe penalties for drug convictions, including long jail sentences and even the death penalty for some offences.
Nolubabalo is the 12th South African to be caught for drug trafficking in Thailand this year. The group Locked Up Abroad said that the number of South African drug mules imprisoned in foreign countries “is rising at an alarming rate every month.”
An man who spent three days in jail on allegations of smuggling drugs in his haircare products has said that he has now received more than $98,000 compensation.
Neil Parry of Darwin, Australia, said that he was arrested in June 2010 at the Darwin Airport and accused of smuggling 3.5 pounds of liquid ecstasy in his Pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner bottles.
He then spent three days in jail while police searched his boat and two houses belonging to friends.
Parry said he engaged in a 17-month legal battle with Customs and Border Protection before it agreed to pay him $98,430 compensation.
A spokesman for the agency issued an apology to Parry.
“Customs and Border Protection acknowledges that there were mistakes made during the presumptive testing of Mr. Parry’s goods. The [chief executive officer] has apologized to Mr. Parry for the consequences that followed his referral to the [Australian Federal Police] by Customs and Border Protection.”