PROGRESO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered four spider monkeys concealed in a duffle bag at the Progreso International Bridge.
On Dec. 30, a 20-year-old woman arrived at the bridge in a 2017 Jeep Patriot. She was referred for further inspection. During the secondary inspection, officers discovered four spider monkeys in a duffle bag.
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Along with CBP agriculture specialists, officers were able to cautiously remove them from the bag and place them in an animal container, according to a press release from CBP.
CBP contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), who identified the animals as spider monkeys.
“Spider monkeys are considered New World monkeys which are found in tropical forests of Central and South America, including southern Mexico and are considered endangered under the Endangered Species Act,” the release stated.
“While conducting their inspections, our officers will often encounter a myriad of prohibited agriculture products,” said Port Director Walter Weaver, Port of Progreso in the release. “Sometimes these encounters yield hidden exotic animals, such as in this case.”
The woman, who is a U.S. citizen, was issued a penalty and the spider monkeys were returned to Mexico.