How NOT To Smuggle Cuban Cigars Into The United States

How NOT to Smuggle Cuban Cigars into the United States

First seen on Travelated.coma fun and funny travel site you should check out.

My brother-in-law, Gary, is a GENIUS at getting his way.  A self-serving savant. Somehow, he managed to institute a rule in MY HOUSE that during visits, I have to make him drinks until 9pm, at which time he must make his own. I don’t know how that happened, but everyone agrees it’s a rule. Gary could label an empty soda bottle emergency air and sell it to a stranger on the street. This is why I found it odd and delightful that he failed so miserably at smuggling Cuban cigarsback into the United States after our family trip to Mexico.

Without issue, I passed through customs like a ninja, or like an aging blonde whose complete inability to properly apply eyeliner erased any possibility of hidden talents like spying or smuggling Russian nesting dolls made out of treated cocaine. It could have been the clever way I held my passport next to my face and said, It’s me! Ha! before handing it to the customs lady. (They love that.)  However I accomplished it, they didn’t single me out for luggage check.

Gary was not so lucky. Security pulled the only member of our group doing anything vaguely illegal off to the side. At our resort, even our morning toast came deep fried, so we were all smuggling five extra pounds of converted Mexican food. Gary wasn’t the only one looking bulkier on the way home. I guess airport security’s instincts were just bang on that day.

An affable security officer unzipped Gary’s luggage and discovered three Cuban cigarsattempting to find asylum in the United States.

The guy looked at Gary. Gary offered his most charming smile.

Are these your cigars? asked the guy.

Gary nodded. Yep!

Standing nearby, my eyes grew panicked and I looked away, searching for my husband. I had to tell him I wasn’t going down with his brother and talk him into making a break for it with me.  He always wanted to go to the Maldives. The Maldives have no extradition laws with the U.S. This could work.

But they aren’t Cuban cigars, said the security guy, starting to tuck them back into Gary’s luggage.

Gary blanched, offended. Oh yes they are!

The guy stopped stuffing.

What’s that now?

What’s what?

The guy blinked at Gary.

These cigars aren’t Cuban, right? he repeated in a slow, measured tone.

Oh, yes! Yes they are! said Gary, bursting with pride. I bought them right before we left. Got a good price for them! You can get some pretty good deals on things like that in Cancun.

The security guy straightened. But they aren’t CUBAN cigars, right?

Gary titled his head like a dog confused as to why his master keeps repeating sit sit sit sit.

There are only three of them, offered Gary.


Just three cigars.

Right. The security guy took a deep breath and leaned towards Gary. But. They. Aren’t. CUBAN. Right?

Um… but they are? said Gary, beginning to fidget.

I slapped my face into my hand. My god, I thought. I’m married to this idiot’s brother. The security guy had given Gary every chance, short of calling out dancing girls with signs that read Just tell me they aren’t Cuban! to form a chorus line behind him.

The security man let out a deep, disappointed sigh.

Well sir, since they ARE Cuban, I need to destroy them.


You are not allowed to bring Cuban cigars into the United States.

Gary’s jaw hung slack as the man crumbled his prize cigars into little piles of tobacco dirt.

I thought you could bring a few, he mumbled, still in shock.

The man zipped up Gary’s luggage and pushed it towards him.


Gary gathered his bag and turned to walk beside me as we left the customs area. He remained quiet for some time. I could only take it for so long.

Don’t you have anything else you want to confess to him? I asked. Are you sure you claimed all your gifts? Do you want to tell him about the time you lied to your Mom?

Gary snorted a bitter laugh.

Shut UP.






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