Miami International Airport is a global hub that sees passengers flying in from every corner of the Earth. So local customs agents undoubtedly witness plenty of odd things that turn out to be completely normal (and legal) by the passengers' cultural standards. But at the risk of offending someone, we have to ask: Who in hell travels with fried fish in their luggage, and how did they think that wouldn't raise any suspicion?
According to the Miami field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agents at MIA recently found 2.3 pounds of cocaine inside four fried fish stashed in a man's luggage.
The incident occurred last weekend, and the catch, which appears to be a quartet of triggerfish, was discovered in the luggage of a 38-year-old Jamaican man.
Agents were x-raying his luggage and noticed something seemed off about the fish (aside from the fact that they were in the luggage to begin with). Their bellies had been stitched, and a couple of the fish seemed a bit thicker than the others. Further inspection revealed they were packed full of cocaine.
“CBP officers are an instrumental part of the detailed inspection process designed to detect illegal narcotics entering the United States,” Miami International Airport Port Director Christopher Maston said. “Drug smugglers are using increasingly innovative methods, and this interception is an excellent example of how our highly trained officers continue to use their experience and knowledge to detect and interdict the flow of illegal narcotics.”
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It's great that CPB agents are using "increasingly innovative methods" to detect coke hidden in fried fish, but we'd shudder to think that without those methods, coke-bloated cooked fish were just sliding right through MIA undetected.
As for why the man decided this was a good idea, perhaps he thought the smell of fish would mask the scent of cocaine. We're not entirely sure what the game plan was.
Update: Take it from WLRN's Nadege Green: Flying with fried fish isn't so odd at all in the Caribbean: