Every day, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens about 1.8 million passengers, along with all of their luggage.Those searches produce a lot of interesting results. Every week, dozens of firearms are found, along with inert grenades, cleverly-concealed knives, exotic animals, throwing stars, and a surprising number of swords hidden in canes.
The TSA blog posts a weekly roundup of various and interesting prohibited items its agents discover.
From a cannonball covered in coral to a gun hidden in a stuffed animal, here are the 21 craziest things the TSA found in 2012.
The week of December 7, agents at Latrobe Airport, near Pittsburgh, found an expended AT-4 rocket launcher.
It had been packed in a passenger's checked bag.
That same week, an eight-inch knife was found in a cane, at Baltimore Washington International Airport.
Perhaps the most explosive find of the year was a cannonball, covered in coral, discovered in a checked bag at Fort Lauderdale.
Its owner was a diver who found it near an 18th century shipwreck. The problem was that it was determined to be explosively viable.
Agents at the airport in Little Rock discovered a powder horn, complete with three ounces of black powder, in a passenger's carry on bag.
Security agents in Tulsa found this replica Claymore mine in a checked bag.
TSA blogger Bob Burns noted that even replica weapons are banned: 'When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays. I know they are cool novelty items, but it is best not to take them on a plane.'
The week of October 21 was a big one for TSA agents, who found more than 40 firearms and nine stun guns at airports around the country.
A passenger at Newark was found with this frightening weapon, called a 'wheel of pain.'
The work of the airport security officers shows just how many everyday objects can be used to conceal weapons.
'Lipstick knives' are a common find, as are knives hidden in combs and brushes. This 'dagger brush' was found at Palm Beach.
Belt buckles can hide knives, too. This three-inch example was discovered at Hobby Airport in Houston.
In early August, TSA agents confiscated this elaborately decorated but dangerous-looking 'prohibited bling.'
In July, a machete (top) was found in Denver.
The throwing knives (below) were discovered at Baltimore Washington International Airport.
When TSA agents at Dallas Fort Worth found an old military bazooka round in a checked bag in June, they evacuated nearby baggage areas until they could establish it was inert.
Five flights were delayed.
That same week, Batman-inspired throwing stars were found at San Diego.
TSA blogger Bob Burns noted: 'These bat stars are exactly what you would need in your arsenal when fighting diabolical crime, however, they're not OK to take on a plane.'
This blade looks very much like a bat'leth, a weapon used by the Klingons in 'Star Trek.'
It was found at LaGuardia Airport, in New York.
These two swords were found in a guitar case at Salt Lake City.
Apparently, the passenger did not know that swords are not allowed in carry-on bags.
In many cases, TSA agents find guns that passengers forget they had with them. That does not seem to be the case here, when officers at Providence TF Green Airport found parts of a disassembled gun hidden in three stuffed animals.
The .40 calibre firearm belonged to a man travelling with a small child. The discovery was made in May.
This knife was not particularly well hidden, but it was in a surprising place: mounted on the front of a walker.
It was found by officers at John F Kennedy, in New York, in May.
In March, a passenger at Miami was found transporting an assortment of marine animals.
The 163 tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, and bag of eels were surrendered to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
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