What the hell kind of bug is this?

We interrupt this bee blog for a mystery that I hope one of our readers can solve. A friend found this bug in his garden yesterday and brought it over to show me.

It looks like something that hitched a ride here on a ship or plane from another continent.

And it's big—that's a US quarter next to it.

Can anyone identify this critter?


A couple of commenters suggested that this could be some sort of carpenter bee, but it's got a much creepier fleshy appearance than that. Maybe these two new pictures give you a better sense of it.