illegal tamales
Image: Renée Johnson / CC BY-SA 2.0

A Mexican traveler carrying illegal tamales was recently intercepted by federal authorities during a “tamale takedown” at the Los Angeles International Airport.

As a result of the bust, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has established what they are referring to as “Operation Hey That Looks Delicious.”

Sgt. Brandt Plaidwick says that the operation aims to combat a recent surge in what the agency is calling “culinary terrorism.” It has set up checkpoints at major airports and border crossing stations that it is privately referring to as “shopping carts.”

Since establishing “Operation Hey That Looks Delicious,” Plaidwick says they have seen a little bit of everything.

“One man tried to get a green smoothie containing raw milk through here,” he said. “Another man had six pizzas that allegedly did not contain sardines, but I can tell you firsthand that it was a lie. I hate sardines! Worst of all, we had to confiscate 50 pounds of pop rocks and 3,000 two-liter bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper—I shudder to think what could’ve happened had that made it’s way into any urban area.”

Pladwick says that, in particular, terrorists attempt to create chaos via unclear food labeling.

“Due to the various dietary restrictions of government personnel and their friends and families, it is imperative that we know exactly what is in the foods we are confiscating,” said Plaidwick.

“Dairy gives me trouble, and last week a confiscated scone ended up containing shellfish, and I swelled up like a friggin’ beach ball,” he added. “Who the hell puts shrimp in a scone? Not on my watch.”

Plaidwick says that travelers are urged to clearly label all foods before entering an airport, making note of any potential allergens. Specifically, travelers are encouraged to bring guacamole or spicy red pepper hummus in 12-ounce containers or larger. He pointed out that only are they not allowed on passenger aircraft, they are also his favorite.

“Would it kill you to bring some chips?” he added.

At press time, the contraband tamales and other confiscated food items were in the process of being destroyed at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection potluck event.

Editor’s Note: This article is satire. However, the tamale bust actually happened. Seriously. Look it up. You can’t make some of this stuff up.



  1. I can tell you from personal experience that tamales can be dangerous. You never know what’s inside those things and some I’ve had have been real bombs! We can never be too careful. Well, maybe we can but remember that old saying about an ounce of prevention!

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