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1. In 2015, a young boy was discovered by stunned customs officials hiding in luggage via the airport scanner. X-ray images captured the youngster tucked up in the trolley suitcase as he tried to get into Spain. The luggage belonged to a 19-year-old woman who police became suspicious of after noticing she was nervous.
When he was found, the boy stuck his head out of the suitcase and said, in French, “Hello, my name is Abou.” Police arrested a man from Costa de Marfil, who was believed to be the boy's father. He tried to get through the same checkpoint about an hour and a half later, saying he lived in the Canary Islands. The woman was acting as a carrier for a substantial fee.
2. In 2015, two men were arrested at an airport in Peru after being caught red-handed making an attempt at human smuggling. Video of the incident shows a man with an average-sized suitcase being stopped by a security guard with a dog at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport.
Despite the dog displaying a keen interest in the case, the man wielding it was reluctant to open it, and with good reason. The guard forced the man to unzip the luggage, revealing another man curled up inside the case.
3. In 2015, a Frenchman tried to smuggle his Russian wife into the EU by hiding her in a massive suitcase, without realizing there had been no need for the James Bond-level scheme.
Poland's border guards detained the man, who authorities said was in his 60s, at the railway station in Terespol, an eastern town on the border with Belarus. The size of the luggage drew the suspicion of the officers.
Little did they know the woman would have had no trouble entering the passport-free Schengen travel zone without the over-the-top caper. Non-EU citizens' spouses are allowed to enter if they can prove their marital ties so that families can stay together.
4. In 2012, an Egyptian couple stuffed their baby in a carry-on bag and tried to sneak him into the United Arab Emirates, but were busted after they put the bag through an X-ray machine.
A man, his wife, and their newborn son arrived at Sharjah International Airport but were told they couldn't enter the country because the boy didn't have a visa. Customs officials told the pair they'd have to wait a day to sort out the matter.
Instead, the couple zipped the boy inside a carry-on bag and tried to sneak him through security. Luggage at UAE airports is usually scanned on arrival after passengers have their passports stamped. An X-ray worker spotted the baby in the bag, and the couple was arrested.
5. A desperate woman tried to smuggle her baby past airport security in a backpack in Papua New Guinea because she did not have the correct immigration papers for her son to leave the Philippines.
The two-month-old was discovered by shocked staff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, as he was picked up by the X-ray machine. The child was soundly asleep when he was found by security.
6. In 2011, Maria del Mar Arjona Rivero, 19, tried to smuggle her partner, Juan Ramirez Tijerina, out of the prison where he was serving a 20-year sentence for illegal weapons possession in Chetumal. According to prison officials, Ramirez Tijerina was discovered hiding in the suitcase as Arjona Rivero left the building following a conjugal visit. She was was arrested for the attempt.
7. In 2013, Customs and Border Protection officers foiled a smuggling attempt at the U.S.-Mexico border when they discovered a woman contorted and hidden inside a suitcase. Officials released a photo showing the woman tucked into a ball and laying inside the luggage in the back of a vehicle. The woman, a Thai national named Pornkamol Mongkolsermsak, was charged with re-entry after deportation.
8. It sounded ghoulish enough — a shipment of 18 frozen human heads was discovered and seized by customs officials during a routine X-ray screening of cargo arriving at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago in 2013.
Turns out the heads weren't being smuggled. They were used for medical research in Italy and were being returned for cremation in Illinois. The holdup was due to a paperwork problem. Apparently such shipments are commonplace, and heads — quite a few of them — crisscross the globe via airplane and delivery truck.
9. In 2001, Mexican national Enrique Aquilar Canchola was found sewn into the passenger seat of a vehicle as part of an attempt to illegally immigrate to the US.
Canchola, 42, was stopped at the San Ysidro, California border crossing. At the time of Canchola's attempted immigration, it was the world's busiest border.
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- 9 Failed Attempts of Smuggling People Across Borders