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A woman who was headed to Barbados on Sunday was not only prevented from getting on her flight, but was fined after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at the Miami International Airport discovered she had a snake hidden in a computer hard drive in her checked bag.
The traveller was not named.
“The snake, that didn’t get on a plane thanks to our officers’ diligent screening, had been artfully concealed inside the electronics of a hard drive and placed in a checked bag headed for a flight to Barbados,” TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz said.
It was while the passenger’s bag was being screened that a TSA officer saw an “organic mass”. A TSA bomb expert who was called into the baggage screening room to investigate the hard drive discovered a small, live Ball Python in a nylon stocking.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Services subsequently took away the reptile and fined the passenger.
“While this mass inside the electronic device was obviously not an imminent terrorist threat to the travelling public, the interception did prevent a possible wildlife threat on an aircraft. Animals of many species have been known to escape and chew through wires with fatal results,” Koshetz said.
News of the discovery that a traveller was trying to smuggle a snake through the Grantley Adams International Airport did not come as a surprise to one professional in the animal care business in Barbados.
He told online newspaper Barbados Today that the reptile black market is alive and well in the island, with some being sold for hundreds of dollars.