Once the blue grain alcohol was in Russia, the dye was removed from it and vodka "flavoring" was added, although this step was likely unnecessary, because we doubt anyone has ever consumed vodka for the taste, and hard drinkers typically don't give one gurgling buttershit what color their liquor is.
This particular alcohol-trafficking scheme went on for about two-and-a-half years to the tune of $40 million before it was finally discovered, forcing the Russian mob to change to an as-yet-unknown method. Likely they are now piggybacking the contraband spirits onto items that cross in and out of Russia with regular disinterest (for example, hiding cases of Aristocrat in the nose cones of nuclear missiles).
Zip-Lining iPads into China
Hong Kong is in a situation ripe for smuggling: It's just across a river from mainland China, yet has a considerably lower tax rate (a holdover from when the British owned it), and it's one of the cheapest places in the world to buy Apple products. The Chinese also have to pay a separate 20 percent tax on all imported electronics, such as computers. So any time goods are cheap on one side of the border and can be sold for much more on the other side, well, you don't have to ask smugglers twice.
But how to get them across ... well, we already featured somebody just chucking contraband over a fence with a catapult. What can top that?
Aside from this.
A dedicated group of smugglers with an equal obligation to streamlined effectiveness and vaudevillian hilarity rigged up a series of zip lines and pulleys to carry iPads and iPhones into mainland China. The operation consisted of one person on the 21st floor of a skyscraper firing a crossbow bolt trailing a tenth of a mile of fishing line across the Sha Tau Kok River to a house in China's Shenzhen province. Once the line was attached, a nylon bag filled with goods was hoisted over the border like Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger. This is an actual thing that actually happened.
It was just stupid enough to ... actually, it was just stupid.
In China, the death penalty is occasionally handed out to traffickers, so the zip line smugglers were potentially risking their very lives for their criminal enterprise. However, when they were eventually caught by a keen-eyed sleuth noticing 300 yards of fishing line angling down across the river from a 200-foot building, the police confiscated just 50 iPads and 50 iPhones, all told worth about $50,000. This suggests that the smugglers, rather than trying to make a quick fortune and retire to a private island, were really just trying to see if their idea would work. Or maybe they were doing it on a bet.
Benjamin enjoys surviving the urban jungle here.
For more ballsy criminals, check out 7 Real World Heists That Put 'Ocean's 11' to Shame and 5 Real Bank Heists Ripped Right Out of the Movies.