20-year-old woman caught trying to smuggle spider monkeys into Texas inside duffle bag, feds say

No monkey business, please

Undeclared spider monkeys intercepted by CBP officers and agriculture specialists at Progreso International Bridge. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

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.”

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.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.