At least two, apparently. Or 14 songbirds. Or 24 geckos and 20 skinks inside a custom-sown underwear pouch. And these guys aren’t alone. It turns out that animal smuggling accounts for approximately $10 billion in annual worldwide revenue (second to the drug trade). Those geckos had a street value of more than $35,000. The songbirds (which customs officials discovered after spotting bird droppings on the California man’ socks and feathers peeping out from under his pants) could have brought a 1500% profit, which surely dwarfs anything in my portfolio for the past few weeks.
But just in case you think that only men come up with bizarre schemes to stuff live animals under their clothes, women are pulling these stunts too. Officials stopped a woman in Melbourne when they heard “flipping” noises near her waist… underneath her skirt they found a custom apron with a stash of 15 water-filled plastic bags containing 51 tropical catfish. A Swedish woman was brave enough to transport 75 snakes in her bra, and a Palestinian woman strapped three 20-inch long crocodiles to her stomach.
Of course, it’s always easier to smuggle animals under your clothes if they aren’t still squirming. And that’s the kind of easy money that enticed a few entrepreneurs in Austin who walked into HEB, shoved fresh meat down their pants, and then allegedly sold their stolen stash to three East Austin eateries.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services noted that she “wouldn’t define proper storage [of meat] as being in someone’s pants,” and all three restaurants promptly had their health permits revoked. But diners beware – two of the three (Sam’s Bar-B-Cue and Willie’s Bar-B-Que) are back in business.
“Pants-meat free since mid- 2011.”
Related: There’s a Diaper for That