1Butterfly specimen smuggling
Butterfly specimen smuggling is a real thing. In 2016, the largest case of butterfly smuggling was attempted but failed when Chinese officers busted several gang members trying to get 2,800 butterfly specimen into China from Malaysia.
2Flour explosive smuggling
During World War 2, Chinese resistance fighters mixed high explosives into flour for smuggling. The flour could be used for pancakes and safely eaten. Uneaten pancakes could still be used as explosives.
An American actor named Erik Audé was tricked into smuggling drugs in Pakistan and tortured horribly for 3 years while being able to make deals with the guards and smuggle items in.
In 2011, Norway went through a nationwide butter shortage, where smugglers would often get caught smuggling butter and online auctions for one packet of butter reached as high as $77.
Harriet Tubman used opium to keep small children subdued and quiet while smuggling them on the Underground Railroad.
Carrier pigeons are regularly used to smuggle drugs across borders and into prisons. A single pigeon can carry over $3000 of cocaine.
A Malaysian man named Anson Wong tried to smuggle 95 snakes on a plane from Penang to Jakarta. He almost succeeded when suddenly his baggage containing the snakes burst open.
A cow-smuggling tunnel was discovered in 2017 under the India–Pakistan border.
In 2003, a North Korean ship named Pong Su suspected of smuggling 150kg of heroin was raided in Australian waters. It was later sunk by an Australian F111 in a training exercise.
Astrophysicist Carl Sagan and his wife would smuggle books about the history of the Russian Revolution into the USSR so that their colleagues could read them since recorded history lessons in Russia were actively manipulated by Joseph Stalin at the time.