A Canadian man almost managed to successfully smuggle the weirdest inventory of illegal contraband that Toronto has ever seen. But, he got intercepted - by a dog. On October 17, 2018, the man had arrived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport from Russia, his suitcased stuffed with 5,000 parasitic leeches. But, the man would've gone completely unnoticed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) had it not been for their trusty Beagle sidekick.
Sniffing out something suspicious in his suitcase, the detector Beagle sat right next to the man, prompting CBSA staff to search the bag. The National Geographic broke the story - according to someone from Canada's environmental department, the leech importer said he planned to use them for his orchids at home.
But, the environmental department quickly learned that those particular leeches can sell for $10 a pop, meaning the contents of his suitcase was worth about $50,000. According to Nat Geo, the leeches have various medicinal uses which people would actually pay for, "such as treating frostbite and helping with recovery from face lifts".
If the man were to transport them legally, he'd need to acquire a specific import-export permit for endangered species. He was charged with illegally importing an internationally regulated species without a permit. His court date has been set for February 15th in the Toronto area.
Because the investigation remains ongoing and is not yet part of the public record, the CBSA cannot share the man's name, his age or any of his personal information. They can't even release the dog's name - which we're dying to know, of course.
At one point, after the CBSA had seized the leeches and was in the process of figuring out what to do with them, about 20 escaped. Which would've been a serious problem had they attached themselves to an unsuspecting human and started feeding off their blood. Thankfully, they were quickly found and recaptured.