Cattle Prods, Grenades and (Of Course) Guns

TSA releases annual Top 10 Catches of items confiscated at airport checkpoints

By BlueSkyStaff

Published January 9, 2023

Read Time: 4 mins


On a typical day, the Transportation Security Administration stops hundreds of banned items from being carried onto planes nationwide.

Often, it’s fairly innocuous stuff: Travelers forget they are carrying multitools, regular-sized shampoo bottles and pepper spray.

Unfortunately, more than 6,300 items intercepted by TSA in 2022 were guns—a 10 percent increase from the year prior and 400 percent jump from a decade ago.

Sometimes, the TSA discovers an item in a category all its own. Each year, the agency releases its “Top 10 Catches”: the most unusual banned (and sometimes outright illegal) possessions that passengers attempted to bring onto a plane.

No. 10: Soiled money. Agents found the money inside a traveler’s crutches at El Paso International Airport (ELP). As TSA said it best in its YouTube video, it’s hard to imagine this idea didn’t stink.

(Image courtesy of TSA)

No. 9: An inert grenade, discovered at Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport (MKE). Even when inert, grenades are not allowed onboard flights. Fortunately, the only thing that blew up here was this stupid idea.

(Image courtesy of TSA)

No. 8: Two electric cattle prods. They were found inside a guitar case at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). You may be surprised to learn that cattle prods can fly, but like guns, they must travel in checked luggage.

(Image courtesy of TSA)

No. 7: A revolver found inside a PlayStation gaming console at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL). This isn’t a fun game to play—don’t bring guns to checkpoints. Rated “N” for Never.

(Image courtesy of TSA)

At No. 6: Drug-infested hair scrunchies. An interesting but thwarted attempt to conceal drugs inside scrunchies at Boise Airport (BOI). Hair-raising, to say the least.

(Image courtesy of TSA)

No. 5: a double-bladed knife found inside a laptop at Richmond International Airport (RIC). Kudos to TSA for identifying this hidden computer “virus.”

(Image courtesy of TSA)

No. 4: a gun stowed inside an arm sling at Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC). Breaking your arm is no excuse for breaking TSA rules. How many times do we have to say stop bringing guns to checkpoints?

(Image courtesy of TSA)

No. 3: Guns and butter. Yes, this was yet another gun – this time concealed inside two smooth, creamy jars of peanut butter at New York’s John F. Kennedy international Airport (JFK). Don’t get into a jam – pack your guns in checked luggage – in a locked, hard-sided container – and properly declare them to your airline.

(Image courtesy of TSA)

No. 2: You guessed it: another gun. This one was found inside a raw chicken at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). The illegal stuffing made this bird unfit to fly and was subsequently grounded.

(Image courtesy of TSA)

And the No. 1 spot went to: Fentanyl disguised as candy at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Rest assured, nothing about this foiled plan tasted sweet.

(Image courtesy of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

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