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The TSA just listed the strangest prohibited items people tried to bring with them through airport security checkpoints last year-- and one was an item that was confiscated from right here in Minnesota.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) catches a lot of prohibited things that travelers either try to stow in their checked luggage or bring with them on the plane. And, the TSA just published a list of the strangest things they confiscated at airports around the country in 2023.

At the top of the TSA's Top 10 Best Catches of 2023 list was an improvised explosive device ('IED') that was hidden in an energy drink can, which TSA officers found at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Also making the list was marijuana disguised to look like a dirty diaper from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, or a firearm fully loaded with 163 rounds of ammo, also nabbed at the New Orleans Airport.

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Meanwhile, attentive TSA officers on duty at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Bloomington made the TSA's year-end list by confiscating four replica rockets from the luggage of a would-be flyer earlier this year. Gee, why would you not be able to bring several rockets on board the plane with you?!?

I really shouldn't be too smug, however. Because I once nearly tried to bring an item back to Minnesota that was on the TSA's Strangest Confiscated Objects list a few years ago: A can of bear spray.

Yes, bear spray came in at #5 on the TSA list of confiscated items back in 2021. If you're not familiar with it, bear spray is a pressurized can of very potent pepper-based aerosol spray made to use as a deterrent, should a bear happen to come after you while you're hiking.

The can of bear spray I almost tried to bring back to Minnesota! (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)
The can of bear spray I almost tried to bring back to Minnesota. (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)

We bought an 8-ounce can on a trip out west to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks back in 2021. While we didn't have to use it on that trip, I thought maybe we would need it on a future trip, so I was going to put it in my luggage to bring home. I ultimately ran out of space and ended up leaving it at the hotel.

Which was a good idea. Because there were signs all over the airport in Montana telling us bear spray, being very explosive, wasn't allowed on ANY flights. Of course, I only saw them after we'd checked our luggage for the flight back-- which would have been confiscated by the TSA had I stuck with my original plan.

Here's the complete TSA List of Strangest Items Confiscated at Airports in 2023:

  • 10 - Naruto throwing knives
  • 9 - Replica rockets (found at MSP Airport in Minnesota!)
  • 8 - A knife hidden in a loaf of bread
  • 7 - A bag of meth hidden in a container of crab boil seasoning powder
  • 6 - A 35MM projectile
  • 5 - A knife hidden inside a prosthetic leg
  • 4 - A firearm fully loaded with 163 rounds of ammo
  • 3 - An improvised explosive device (IED) made with a CO2 cartridge
  • 2 - Marijuana disguised to look like a dirty diaper
  • 1 - An improvised explosive device (IED) hidden inside an energy drink can

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