PROGRESO, Texas – The U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized four spider monkeys on Dec. 30 after officers discovered the primates in a duffle bag.
According to a press release, the primates were found hidden inside the duffle bag of a 20-year-old female who was entering Texas at the Progreso International Bridge in a 2017 Jeep Patriot.
The woman, a U.S. citizen, was referred for further inspection and that’s when CBP officers discovered the four monkeys.
“While conducting their inspections, our officers will often encounter a myriad of prohibited agriculture products,” said Port Director Walter Weaver, Port of Progreso. “Sometimes these encounters yield hidden exotic animals, such as in this case.”
NO MONKEY BUSINESS, PLEASE: #CBP officers, agriculture specialists intercept four undeclared spider monkeys at Progreso, #Texas International Bridge. Driver was fined by CBP and spider monkeys were returned to Mexico. Read more: https://t.co/5bJ0Cn6D7l pic.twitter.com/glgclwReG4— CBP South Texas (@CBPSouthTexas) January 4, 2022
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials identified the primates as spider monkeys, which are found in tropical forests of Central and South America, including southern Mexico.
Spider monkeys are considered endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The monkeys were placed in an animal container and returned to Mexico and the woman was “issued a penalty,” according to the press release.