Busted: Fake vegetables, tortillas, breast implants and more stuffed with drugs

Fake vegetables, frozen sharks, and an Xbox — here are some of drugs smugglers' most bizarre methods

Every year, billions of dollars in illegal narcotics circle the globe, driven by the demand of millions of users.

At every step, authorities try to intercept the drugs and apprehend their purveyors.

In response, traffickers have developed a variety of inventive ways to obscure their cargos.

In August 2016, US border agents uncovered more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana hidden among limes.

In two incidents in July, border agents found well over 200 pounds of meth hidden in shipments of jalapeños and cucumbers.

But food isn't the only method of concealment.

Fake carrots, real doughnuts, catapults, drones, submarines, and the human stomach — here's a non-exhaustive list of the clever ways traffickers have smuggled drugs.

Stuffed chili peppers and fake carrots

Drug traffickers have mixed legitimate business with their illicit activities, in part so that the former can conceal the latter. Vaunted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, now awaiting trial in the US, was no exception.

"He opened a cannery in Guadalajara and began producing thousands of cans stamped 'Comadre Jalapeños,' stuffing them with cocaine," Patrick Radden Keefe wrote in a 2012 New York Times Magazine profile of Guzman, before "vacuum-sealing them and shipping them to Mexican-owned grocery stores in California."

In one instance, according to a court in San Diego, 1,400 boxes of canned peppers, filled with "hundreds of kilos of cocaine," were intercepted at the border.

In January 2016, agents in Texas discovered a shipment of marijuana wrapped in orange tape and a concealed within a cargo of carrots. The bust uncovered more than a ton of weed worth a half-million dollars.

In October 2016, Customs and Border Protection agents stopped a tractor trailer loaded with a commercial shipment of carrots. Among the carrots, agents found 159 packages of 88 pounds worth of what was thought to be meth.


CBP agents in Arizona intercepted meth hidden in packages of tortillas in late October 2016.

In late October, Customs and Border Protection officers at the Morley pedestrian border crossing at Nogales, Arizona, stopped a 62-year-old man from Arizona.

A narcotics-detecting canine found nearly 3 pounds of meth hidden in hollowed-out tortillas the man was carrying.

More highlights:
Fake bananas used to hide drugs, shown after being seized in November 2016.
CBP officers foiled a traveler’s attempt to smuggle nearly 7 ounces of cocaine packed inside tamales, August 22, 2014.
Packets of what appeared to be cocaine were hidden inside containers of salsa being shipped to Mexico.
Mexican marines examine frozen sharks used to smuggle drugs.


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