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  4. CBP officers, agriculture specialists intercept six monkeys at Veterans International Bridge

CBP officers, agriculture specialists intercept six monkeys at Veterans International Bridge

Release Date
Fri, 03/22/2024

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at the Veterans International Bridge intercepted six live monkeys in a vehicle in a single enforcement action.

“Our frontline officers continue to exercise vigilance and for the second time this month intercepted a significant amount of live monkeys hidden within a passenger vehicle,” said Acting Port Director Michael B. Reyes, Brownsville Port of Entry. “CBP remains committed to preventing the exploitation of protected animals and thereby impeding the spread of animal diseases.”

The incident occurred on March 20 at the Veterans International Bridge when a 26-year-old female U.S. citizen applied for entry into the United States in a 2021 Toyota sedan.  CBP officers referred the vehicle for a secondary inspection. In secondary, CBP officers and agriculture specialists discovered six live monkeys within a backpack and a purse in the vehicle.

Homeland Security Investigations special agents initiated a criminal investigation, seized the vehicle and arrested the driver. The monkeys were turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will be housed at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

CBP would like to remind the public of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regulations that prohibit live birds, fresh eggs, and raw poultry from Mexico. According to the USDA APHIS, Mexico is affected with virulent Newcastle disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Both diseases affect poultry, are serious diseases of concern, and are highly contagious. In addition, monkeys are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), their importation is regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ultimately monkeys are prohibited from importation as pets.

On the border at land, air, and sea-based ports of entry, including Laredo, CBP officers and agriculture specialists continue to fulfill CBP’s agriculture mission by excluding harmful pests and diseases from becoming established in the United States. Read more about CBP’s agriculture mission. More information regarding HPAI or virulent Newcastle disease can be found on USDA's Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND) pages.

Follow the Director of CBP’s Laredo Field Office at @DFOLaredo and also U.S. Customs and Border Protection at @CBPSouthTexas for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos.

Last Modified: Mar 22, 2024