20 Quick Facts About Smuggling That’ll Surprise You




A cow-smuggling tunnel was discovered in 2017 under the India–Pakistan border.

12Pong Su

Pong Su

In 2003, a North Korean ship named Pong Su suspected of smuggling 150kg of heroin was raided in Australian waters. It was later sunk by an Australian F111 in a training exercise.

13Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan

Astrophysicist Carl Sagan and his wife would smuggle books about the history of the Russian Revolution into the USSR so that their colleagues could read them since recorded history lessons in Russia were actively manipulated by Joseph Stalin at the time.

14Leg cast

Leg cast

In 2009, a Chilean man with a broken leg was arrested in Barcelona airport for drug smuggling after his cast was found to be made entirely of compressed cocaine.

15Diamond Smuggling

Diamond Smuggling

In 1998, a South African diamond mining town passed a law to shoot all pigeons on sight after the company found out that their workers were using homing pigeons to smuggle diamonds.

16Colombian drug cartel

Colombian drug cartel

In 2005, a Colombian drug cartel was caught smuggling heroin by sewing it into the stomachs of live puppies.

17Gino Bartali

Gino Bartali

Gino Bartali was a cyclist who used his fame as a winner of the Tour de France to smuggle counterfeit documents hidden inside his bicycle through Nazi checkpoints in World War 2 Italy under the guise of training. These documents allowed as many as 800 Jews to escape persecution by the Nazis.



A massive smuggling operation at Miami Airport came to light when an American Airlines pilot was accidentally served a mixture of coffee and heroin from a smuggled parcel and complained that his coffee tasted funny.

19Katharine Dexter McCormick

Katharine Dexter McCormick

In the 1920s, women's rights activist Katharine Dexter McCormick would smuggle contraceptive diaphragms into the US by sewing them into her clothes when she traveled to Europe. Contraception was illegal in much of the United States until the 60s and 70s.

20U.S. Treasury Bonds

U.S. Treasury Bonds

In 2009, two Japanese nationals were caught by Italian authorities smuggling U.S. Treasury Bonds worth $134.5 billion into Switzerland. No official statement was even made regarding the authenticity of the Bonds, and the two Japanese men were released.