Four spider monkeys were stuffed into a duffle bag in an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle them into the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday.
Officers and agriculture specialists at the Progreso International Bridge made the “unusual discovery” Dec. 30. A 20-year-old U.S. citizen rolled into the border crossing between Texas and Mexico in a Jeep Patriot. She was sent for further inspection.
That’s when officials said they found four undeclared spider monkeys hidden inside the zipped bag.
“While conducting their inspections, our officers will often encounter a myriad of prohibited agriculture products,” Director Walter Weaver, Port of Progreso, said in a statement Jan. 4. “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
The animals were carefully removed and placed in an animal carrier.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified the animals as spider monkeys, which are found in tropical forests of Central and South America, including southern Mexico. They are considered endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The woman was fined an undisclosed amount and the spider monkeys were returned to Mexico
Port of Progreso @CBP officers and agriculture specialists made an unusual discovery this past week when they encountered four undeclared monkeys concealed inside a duffle bag. The species was identified by @USFWS as Spider Monkeys.— Director, Field Operations, Randy Howe (@DFOLaredo) January 4, 2022
For more info, visit: https://t.co/Kwo13h2Olh pic.twitter.com/xAh6XPGP5t