The Most Bizarre Contraband Items Found at JFK

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For five days, conceptual photographer Taryn Simon lived at JFK Airport in New York and documented an exhaustive amount of prohibited, illegal, dangerous, and strange items that were confiscated from passengers and express mailing entering the United States. From piles of Pakistani steroids to gallons of Polish date rape drugs to unidentified animal corpses, Simon tirelessly snapped over 1,000 photos in her makeshift studio at Terminal 4. This emporium of imagery was published in her book Contraband . Over time, patterns of desire emerge. While the basic illicit essentials like Louis Vuitton and cheap Chinese Viagra knockoffs are always in high demand, it’s the truly exotic things that pique our interest — salted slab of pork fat from Ukraine, anyone? Mmm? Browse through our picks from the illegal loot in the gallery.

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Bird corpse, labeled as home décor, Indonesia to Miami, Florida (prohibited).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. USA American Visagra, Viagra, China (counterfeit).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. DVDs, Lost, Season 4 (pirated).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. GBL, Poland (used as date rape drug) (illegal).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Peppers, Capsicum spp., Ghana (prohibited).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Handbag, Louis Vuitton (disguised) (counterfeit).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Ketamine, India (illegal).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Sala, pork fat, Ukraine (9CFR.94) (prohibited).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Unidentified liquid, hidden in thermos in satin bedding.

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Unidentified mammal, Indonesia (prohibited).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Steroids, Testosterone & Sustanon, Pakistan (illegal).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Nesting dolls with Disney characters, Snow White (counterfeit).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Percussion pistol, Enfield 1858, Afghanistan (unlicensed).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Unmarked pills, China (prohibited).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Deer penis, Asian origin (9CFR.94) (prohibited).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Cow dung toothpaste, India (BSE, Foot and Mouth Disease) (9CFR.94.6) (prohibited).

Image credit: Taryn Simon. Heroin, from India to NY (illegal).