TSA's 2022 Top 10 List of Most Unusual Finds at Airport Security Checkpoints

Jan. 4, 2023

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has released an online video showing the Top 10 most unusual items found at security checkpoints nationwide in 2022. The video can be found via the TSA's YouTube account.

Here are a few more details about some of the items on the list.


It was a sticky situation in a TSA checked baggage screening room at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Dec. 22, when a TSA officer removed two jars of peanut butter, each containing parts of a disassembled semi-automatic handgun artfully concealed inside.

The .22 caliber gun parts were wrapped in plastic and had been jammed into the middle of two plastic jars of peanut butter. The gun’s magazine was loaded with bullets.

When the checked bag triggered an alarm in a Terminal 8 X-ray unit, a TSA officer opened the bag and upon closer inspection uncovered the concealed firearm parts. TSA officials notified the Port Authority Police, who came to the checked baggage room in JFK’s Terminal 8, confiscated the items, tracked down the traveler in the terminal and arrested him. 

“The gun parts were artfully concealed in two smooth creamy jars of peanut butter, but there was certainly nothing smooth about the way the man went about trying to smuggle his gun,” said John Essig, TSA’s Federal Security Director for JFK Airport. “Our officers are good at their jobs and are focused on their mission — especially during the busy holiday travel period."


At Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC),  the security team was screening a passenger who was wearing a sling on his arm. The sling triggered an alarm and so the traveler was asked if he could please remove the sling and place it into a bin. The traveler handed over his sling and mentioned to the officers that it was heavy because it had metal in it. Turned out the reason for the extra weight in what was supposed to be an empty sling was that upon closer inspection, there was a loaded handgun concealed inside. The kicker was that he told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him — just inches from his hand. 


At Richmond International Airport (RIC), a TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine at the airport, spotted what appeared to be a knife inside a man’s carry-on bag. The contents of the bag were searched, but at first no knife was spotted until each item in the carry-on bag was separated and re-introduced through the X-ray machine. At that point the X-ray image indicated that the knife was inside the laptop and required closer inspection. After obtaining tools that could disassemble the laptop, a double-edged knife was found to have been artfully concealed inside the guts of the computer. 

The traveler initially claimed that he had no idea that there was a knife inside his laptop, however after the knife was revealed, he confirmed that the knife was his.


Officers at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) detected two electric cattle prods packed alongside a guitar inside a carry-on guitar case in September.

TSA would have had no issue had the items been packed in a checked bag, but passengers certainly cannot carry an electric cattle prod into the cabin of an aircraft.

Additionally, a single cattle prod was detected in a carry-on bag, also at Dulles Airport, in May. That item also was not permitted to go through the security checkpoint.

Other Items

Other items on the list: soiled money hidden in crutches, an inert grenade, a gun inside a PlayStation console, drugs hidden in Scrunchies, a gun inside a raw chicken and fentanyl inside candy wrappers.