The 10 Strangest Items TSA Officers Found at Checkpoints in 2022

Spoiler: One of them was an inert grenade. Another was a gun inside a raw chicken.

TSA Checkpoint
TSA officers have seen it all.

The team behind TSA’s stellar Instagram account has compiled a list of the 10 oddest items that were surrendered at security checkpoints across the country in 2022. The resulting video parses through a variety of items ranging from weapons to drugs to…more weapons, with a particular emphasis on firearms.

It’s not surprising considering that, per the TSA’s website, more than 2 million passengers are screened each day at nearly 440 airports nationwide, and on average, officers discover as many as nine firearms (among other prohibited items) per day — and that’s in a normal year.

By mid-December of 2022, according to a press release, the TSA had intercepted 6,301 firearms on the year — 88% of which were loaded. That’s a 10% increase from 2021, and, at the time, officials were still expecting that number to top out at around 6,600 by end of year. In other words, 2022 was a big year for weapons in airports.

That said, firearms were hardly the only strange items people tried to get through security. Here’s the full list:

  • Soiled money crutches
  • Inert grenade
  • Cattle prod guitar case
  • Gun inside a PlayStation
  • Drug scrunchies
  • Knife in laptop
  • Gun in arm sling
  • Peanut butter firearm
  • Gun inside a raw chicken
  • Fentanyl inside candy wrappers

Something to note, however, is that items, regardless of classification, are almost never truly confiscated. If a passenger arrives at a checkpoint with a prohibited item, they’re given a series of options: they could put the item in a checked bag; hand it off to a non-traveling companion; return it to their car; mail it to their home or final destination, assuming the airport has a mailing center (some do, some don’t); or they can voluntarily surrender it to TSA. So, in effect, the weirdo who tries to bring a cattle prod on a plane doesn’t necessarily lose their cattle prod privileges (though, I have to believe the guy who tried to smuggle fentanyl in his Skittles probably lost his fentanyl privileges).

Another little-known fact is that many of the items that are surrendered to TSA are actually available to purchase via state agencies for surplus property. So if you read this and thought, “Wow, neat! I’ve been in the market for an inert grenade,” you’re actually in luck.


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