U.S. News


Snakes found in passenger's pants at Miami airport, TSA says

Airport security released images of what appeared to be a camouflage bag they found on the passenger with two pink snakes and what was identified as packing material.
Snakes discovered at a TSA checkpoint at Miami International Airport.
Posted at 4:32 PM, May 02, 2024

A passenger was stopped at Miami International Airport after multiple snakes were found in his pants, security officials said.

Images released by the Transportation Security Administration show two pink snakes that were removed from a small camouflage pouch TSA officers said they found on the passenger. What appeared to be packing material had apparently spilled out onto a counter as the reptiles were removed.

A TSA spokesperson told Scripps News the passenger went through the TSA's Advanced Imaging Technology when something on them was flagged. The passenger was then taken to another area for a pat-down, and it was there that the passenger admitted to having snakes concealed in his pants.

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TSA Gulf said on X that officers called Customs and Border Protection to report the issue and Miami-Dade law enforcement entities were called in to help. The snakes were turned over to Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the TSA said. It was not immediately clear if wildlife officials had determined the species of the snakes or the motive behind the passenger's decision to transport them through a U.S. international airport.

The TSA said the passenger was departing for a destination outside of the U.S., but couldn't elaborate on where and said the airline canceled the passenger's ticket. A message sent by Scripps News to Miami-Dade police for more details on the passenger and his whereabouts was not immediately answered.

The Miami New Times said the passenger still had not been identified by Thursday, and the TSA didn't immediately respond to an inquiry by Scripps News for further details.

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Miami has been identified as a hotspot for illegal wildlife trafficking. The Miami Herald published a report on efforts to combat the problem among the 50 million passengers who pass through the airport each year. U.S. officials see North America as a "crucial destination, transit and source" hub for wildlife trafficking.

Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tracks wildlife trafficking attempts. In one significant case in 2020, officials with the agency said they made the first in a series of arrests when a group was charged with various elements of organized crime in an "elaborate enterprise" to smuggle wildlife in Florida to other U.S. states and internationally.

Last year the TSA said a passenger tried to claim a 4-foot-long boa constrictor was their emotional support pet when the snake was discovered by security screeners in luggage at Tampa's International Airport. The agency released X-ray screening images of the serpent inside the baggage.