An airline passenger was caught trying to smuggle a python on a plane by hiding it inside a hard drive at Miami International Airport

Business Insider US

A picture of the snake smuggled inside a portable hardrive.

  • TSA agents in Miami stopped a traveller from smuggling a snake onto a plane bound for Barbados on Monday. 
  • A TSA spokesperson said, "the 'good catch' elucidates that we are skilled at finding even hidden threats." 
  • Neither the snake nor traveller boarded the plane. 

TSA agents at Miami International Airport found a slithery surprise when they checked one passenger's external hard drive, where they found a live python hidden away inside the interior.

The US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) announced on Monday that a passenger flying from Miami to the Grantly Adams International Airport in Barbados tried to sneak a snake on the plane through her checked luggage.

In a public social media post, the TSA wrote, "While the python itself posed no danger to anyone on the aircraft, an organic item concealed inside electronics raises security concerns, which is why our officers took a closer look."

It is not clear yet why the passenger tried to smuggle the snake on board or if she was aware this violated safety protocols. 

"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 southeastern regional spokesperson, Sari Koshetz, told Business Insider in a statement. 

"Upon a TSA officer’s discovery of the organic mass, one of our TSA bomb experts was called into the baggage screening room to investigate the innards of the hard drive and that is when he discovered the mass was a live snake," Koshetz said.

Koshetz said that even though the snake inside the electronic device "was obviously not an imminent terrorist threat to the travelling public", its interception helped stop a potential wildlife threat. 

"Animals of many species have been known to escape and chew through wires with fatal results," Koshetz said.

The TSA confirmed that the US Fish & Wildlife Service was notified, who appeared on the scene and took possession of both the snake and the passenger. The traveller was fined an undisclosed amount and did not end up making the flight

Neither officials at Miami International Airport nor at the US Fish and Wildlife Service responded to Business Insider when asked for a comment.

On Tuesday, the TSA posted a shot on Instagram of the snake inside the portable hard drive. Alongside the photograph was a playful and highly sarcastic message referencing TSA Agent Neville Flynn, a fictional character played by Samuel L. Jackson in the 2006 smash-hit "Snakes on a Plane." 

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