Smuggled spider monkeys intercepted at U.S. border safely returned to Mexico

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.

The spider monkey were stashed in a duffle bag. Photo: CBP South Texas/Twitter

“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.”

The animals were carefully removed and placed in an animal carrier.

The smuggled spider monkeys. Photo: CBP South Texas/Twitter

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

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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