The officers and agents of the Department of Homeland Security work around the clock protecting the U.S.'s borders. They're at ground zero in the war against narco-trafficking, illegal immigration, and terrorism.
Here's a look at some of the more unconventional ways people have tried to smuggle drugs, money, and mangos into and out of the United States.
A Watermelon High
In April 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Nogales, Arizona, crossing found almost five tons of marijuana in a shipment of watermelons being transported by a 40-year-old man from Mexico. The street value of the marijuana seized was more than $21 million.
One border crosser took cleaning to a whole new level—even washing some weeds. In July 2010, CBP officers at the El Paso crossing found 66 pounds of marijuana hidden in a washing machine.
He Sells Seashells?
In July 2010, CBP officers at the Otay Mesa cargo port in San Diego found a lot more than treasures from the sea in this shipment of seashells. Upon inspection, officers found wrapped packages of marijuana, totaling 2,435 pounds, and methamphetamine, totaling 150 pounds. The street value for these seized narcotics was more than $3 million.
Speed-y Window Washer
In June 2010, CBP officers at the Calexico, California, crossing found 18 pounds of liquid methamphetamine inside the windshield washer reservoir of an SUV. The liquid meth had a street value of $189,000.
This isn't your mother's chicken noodle soup. In June 2010, CBP officers in Washington Dulles International Airport found 1,965 grams of cocaine hidden in powdered soup packets. The street value of this find was up to $140,000.
In June 2010, CBP officers at the Brownsville, Texas, crossing found 3.8 pounds of heroin in a bicycle basket. The heroin was hidden in a wooden shelf in the basket.
Bread and Dough
In July 2010, CBP officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry in California found more dough than they expected to find in a loaf of wheat bread. Officers found $5,200 in undeclared currency hidden in this loaf. In total, CBP found more than $83,000 hidden in the loaf, a backpack, and even a stuffed animal.
CBP officers seize more than drugs. They aim to keep pests out, too. In July 2010, CBP agricultural specialists seized 48 mangoes and other fruit that had been hidden in dirty laundry bags. One mango had 12 fruit fly larvae living in it.
Think concrete will stop the CBP from finding your stash? Think again. In July 2010, CBP officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry found 425 pounds of marijuana encased in cement lawn furniture. The 122 packages of marijuana had a value of $213,000.
In July 2010, CBP officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry seized 6,000 counterfeit handheld video games. The games were modeled after "Tetris" and labeled as " hand-held video games." They were valued at $17,496.
In May 2010, CBP officers in JFK International Airport found a different kind of candy covered in chocolate. Officers discovered chocolate-coated cocaine, sometimes known on the streets as candy or nose candy, in boxes of chocolate.
In May 2010, CBP officers at the Douglas, Arizona, crossing found more than $200,000 that a Mexican national was attempting to illegally export. The money was hidden in a spare tire attached underneath the truck.
Leafy-green beer? In May 2010, CBP officers at the El Paso, Texas, port of entry found 37.58 pounds of marijuana hidden in beer and soda cans.
In May 2010, CBP officers at the El Paso, Texas, crossing found 11 pounds of marijuana hidden in two toddler chairs. The marijuana packages had been glued to the inside of the chairs.
In May 2010, CBP officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge in Texas found six packages of cocaine that had been hidden in a car battery.