If you/ your family/ your friends travel internationally often enough, you might be aware of that one person (or two), who tries to smuggle things across the border.
We are not talking about drugs, or weapons right now. What I mean is all sorts of food, plants and animals. Every now and again we hear about people trying to bring in exotic animals and plants to the US. It is also fairly common for people to bring all sorts of food through, too.
If you have questions regarding what you can and cannot bring, please refer to this web site. Be sure to read it carefully so as not to spend money on something that will be thrown out. (For example: ivory. You CAN bring it in, but only if it is an antique (over 100 years old) and you have the documents to prove it.)
Aside from protecting the endangered species of the flora and fauna, such restrictions are meant to ward off foreign diseases. To keep them from spreading onto uncharted territory.
When I was browsing through the news last week, I scrolled through an article with a picture that made me salivate (Lechon anyone?).
The Tweet says it all – a furry TSA officer (beagle named Hardy) sniffed out a roasted pig’s head in one of the traveler’s suitcase at the Atlanta airport. The pig was travelling from South America.
A different beagle (Joey) sniffed out a whole roasted pig AT THE SAME AIRPORT 2 years ago. (Does it mean that it is a good airport to try and smuggle pigs through? Or does it mean that the dogs working there are the best in the business?)
This whole incident made me wonder what motivates people to do such silly things. Potential financial gain is one argument that comes to mind. The second (a bit more understandable to me) is that people bring something they cannot (easily) get here in the USA. Something that is ubiquitous in foreign countries, but not necessarily here.
Where do you think it stops? What will people try to get through the border?
Have you ever tried to get something through that you should not have?
It happened to me once or twice that I got a bottle of water on the plane, landed in my destination country, but had to go through security AGAIN to travel to a different city. The irritating thing was that I did not leave the gate area, so I did not think twice about having something I should not have. But I had water in my carry on and was made to look like someone who has no idea about traveling restrictions. Felt pretty embarrassing, especially because I consider myself somewhat savvy in that department.
There was this one time that the alarm just kept going off, despite the fact I had nothing in my bag that should set it off. The officer struggled to find anything, but decided not to give up. It took a long time of searching and finding nothing. In the end he confiscated my key-chain, which had the tiniest blade on it (below the restricted amount). I guess once that alarm goes off, you have to give up SOMETHING.
When I see dogs at the airport I get a bit nervous (even though I know I have nothing to hide). But I also feel so much gratitude towards them. I admire them so much. They really are amazing at detecting all sorts of things that can put us in jeopardy.
Disclaimer: I do not condone trying to get ANY prohibited items through the border. Why go through all the stress?
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