An explosive hidden inside an energy drink can and a knife inside a prosthetic foot were two of the most bizarre items Transportation Security Administration officials discovered last year.
Each year, the agency releases its annual list of the top 10 “best catches.”
It started doing so in 2016, when it included a full-size movie prop corpse, a Hello Kitty pistol and a golden hand grenade.
No. 2 on last year’s list was marijuana concealed in an adult diaper. It was discovered because a checkpoint scanner at LaGuardia Airport in New York was alarmed about a woman’s groin, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said.
“The woman had stashed pot in her adult diaper in an effort to conceal the marijuana from TSA and from her traveling companion—her mom!” Farbstein said in a statement Tuesday. “She told officials that she didn’t want her mother to find out that she was packing the pot.”
That wasn’t the first time TSA agents had discovered prohibited items in a diaper at LaGuardia. In December, Farbstein said on X that 17 bullets were found in an otherwise clean disposable diaper carried by a man from Arkansas.
Passengers also tried to sneak illicit items in food products. A knife hidden inside a loaf of keto bread and a bag of methamphetamines in a container of crab boil seasoning powder made the TSA’s “best catches.”
“We hate to break it to you here, but stuffing a firearm in your holiday bird for travel is just a baste of time,” the TSA wrote on Instagram in 2022.
People who show up at TSA checkpoints with illicit items are referred to airport police, according to the TSA’s website. From there, police decide whether civil penalties should be pursued.
TSA press secretary R. Carter Langston said the administration’s social media team tries to represent different airports and regions across its list as a reminder to passengers that they should pay attention to the prohibited items list.
“The most bizarre item on the list for me would have to be the giant bullet,” Langston said about the 35 mm projectile found in a passenger’s bag at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. “Even if it was inert — it’s just the fear factor alone that it might bring to other passengers.”
Langston said that oftentimes, passengers tell TSA officers they didn’t even realize the items they were carrying were prohibited.
Here are five more items that made the TSA best catches list for 2023:
- Naruto throwing knives discovered in a carry-on at Boston Logan International Airport.
- Four replica rockets found at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
- A knife hidden inside a prosthetic foot found at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska.
- An improvised explosive device in a CO₂ cartridge, also called a pipe bomb, at Sacramento International Airport in California.
- A fully loaded firearm with 163 rounds of ammunition at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.