Man in uniform standing at counter at checking point and watching at monitor with x-ray of luggage.

Fireworks and a Meth Burrito Make the TSA’s ‘Top 10 Catches of 2021’ List

United States News Airports + Flying
by Nickolaus Hines Jan 19, 2022

You can only be talking about one thing when putting chainsaws, machetes, bear spray, and meth shoved into a burrito in the same sentence: airport security.

These were just some of the things that made the TSA’s “Top 10 Catches of 2021” list. The government agency designed to protect fliers in the United States made a quirky video to go along with its list this year and tweeted it out — custom hashtag and an ask for responses included.

“From bear spray to meth-rritos, our officers found some truly unusual items,” the tweet reads. “They worked hard to keep travelers safe as they returned to the skies. What would you pick as your number one catch? Let us know! #TSATop10”

  • Bullets in deodorant: Atlantic City International. “This passenger must have been sweating bullets. Do you trust your deodorant?”
  • Pistol: Newark Liberty International. “Is your one shot worth … a mug shot?”
  • Meth burrito: Hobby International. “You can’t speed your way through security with this one.”
  • Firearm buckle: Honolulu International. “How’s our list holding up so far? Better than this passenger’s pants hopefully.”
  • Cleaver: Harrisburg International. “Not a cleaver idea to bring this through security.”
  • Bear spray: Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport. “Is definitely not a bear necessity for your flight!”
  • Machete: Reagan Washington. “Talk about a dull idea.”
  • Fireworks: Syracuse Hancock International. “Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know…this is a no-no.”
  • Wine holder (two Western-style pistols, a horseshoe, and a lasso rope): Sacramento International. “Please don’t make pour decisions like this passenger.”
  • Chainsaw: New Orleans International. “Can’t stump us!”

No, these aren’t the best jokes in the world. Are they decent considering what this agency is designed for? Yes, though I’m sure some pithy jokes at the time these things were taken from those involved would not go over so well. Not that jokes surrounding public safety are automatically in bad taste, of course. Spider-Man does them just fine. But “your friendly neighborhood TSA agent” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

Jokes aside, the TSA is stopping many people from flying with weapons. A record 5,972 guns were found in carry-ons in 2021, according to CBS. What’s more, 86 percent were loaded, and one accidentally discharged in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson in November. CBS notes that people found with weapons at an airport checkpoint may face a civil penalty action, be handed over to local law enforcement, and face a fine of $13,910.

As for the confiscated items, the TSA sells a number of things to the public for cheap (but you’re probably safe to assume the meth burrito won’t make it to market).

Somehow, a big block of raw chicken managed to get past the agents last year, but I’m sure it would have made the #TSATop10 if they would’ve caught it.

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