When the Border Gets Tough, Smugglers Get Creative

Hiding drugs or people in the back of a truck just isn't cutting it anymore. As security has tightened on the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have seen an uptick in creative, even bizarre ways to smuggle drugs and people into the country.

“Anywhere there’s a natural void in a vehicle, or a secret compartment can be hidden, smugglers will try and take advantage of that to hide contraband and people,” said Chris Maston, Director of CBP Field Operations in San Diego. “We’ve seen people hidden in gas tank compartments -- dangerous, specially-built compartments affixed to the under carriage of a vehicle.”

Fox News Latinos spoke to border patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border and here is our Top 10 list of the most creative –albeit unsuccessful– smuggling attempts.

While some smuggling methods look silly, it’s important to remember that these are serious crimes and can have extremely dangerous consequences. 

10. A Bouncing Baby...Whoa!

As anyone who has travelled with a little one knows, you need plenty of baby supplies --baby bottles, diapers, baby wipes, and a pacifier --in a diaper bag. But one woman crossing at California’s San Clemente Border Patrol checkpoint threw in a more unusual item --six bundles of cocaine. Authorities also found three more bundles in her purse. All told, the drugs held a street value of around $218,000. She was arrested, but presumably the baby didn't squeal. 

9. These Vegetables Will Make Your Teeth Fall Out

What appeared to be a man headed home from the grocery store turned into a major methamphetamine bust when a K-9 unit sniffed out cans of vegetables that were filled not with green beans but with crystal meth. The 42-year-old U.S. citizen was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Pine Valley, CA. The 10 lbs of veggie-meth cans were estimated to be worth more than $192,000.

8. The Tide is High...and Here's Why

When there are no waves, surfers usually stay home. Maybe that's why the Border Patrol agents became suspicious when they spotted the drug-surf smuggler 200 yards offshore of Imperial Beach near San Diego. Shortly after they entered the water to question the man, a duffel bag with almost 25 pounds of marijuana washed ashore.

7. It Keeps Your T-Shirts Soft...and Paranoid

Here is how you get your prison stripes white: Just a couple of months ago two U.S. Citizens made an attempt to smuggle cocaine in boxes of laundry detergent at the San Ysidro port of entry. Port officers searched the car and seized 12 packages of cocaine, valued at $294,000. 

6. A $45,000 Pair of Dress Shoes (They Come Loaded)

Talk about a bad walk. A 23-year-old Mexican man was detained on a commercial bus traveling to San Diego. In his luggage, a Border Patrol K-9 team uncovered $45,890 of heroin hidden inside his spare shoes. The shoes he was wearing at the time also contained heroin.

5. Tokin' on Tabasco 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection made one spicy discovery - $1.4 million worth of marijuana in boxes of hot sauce, weighing 2,330 pounds. 

4. Now, That’s a Load of Lettuce!

$1.8 million of marijuana was packed in a shipment of lettuce crossing the Otay Mesa cargo facility near San Diego. U.S. Customs and Border Protection  said a K-9 uncovered 136 packages of marijuana, weighing over 3,000 pounds in the back of a tractor-trailer. 

3. One Tough Commute

A  man attempting to smuggle himself into the U.S. was found by a K-9 team at a checkpoint in Jamul, CA. He was wedged between a truck’s customized gas tank and undercarriage. The driver and the undocumented immigrant were both arrested.

2. Wheeling the Dope

A U.S. citizen was arrested for smuggling five pounds of marijuana under the seat of a wheelchair at the San Ysidro port of entry. The 19-year-old man, who was seated in the chair, was searched after a CBP officer said he looked nervous. K-9s found the packages.

1. Sweet Jesus!

A woman from Ciudad Juárez traveling through the El Paso port of entry said the only items she had to declare were framed pictures of Jesus Christ. Yet a sniffing dog uncovered the truth behind the Son of God – 30 pounds of pot. The woman was turned over to the El Paso Police Department. 

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Patrick Manning is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here.