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March 5, 2024Brownsville, TX, United StatesContraband

2 monkeys intercepted at Texas port of entry; HSI Rio Grande Valley, US Fish and Wildlife Service initiate criminal investigation

A wild howler monkey similar to those seized at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists intercepted two howler monkeys at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge and turned them over to federal authorities. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Rio Grande Valley and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a criminal investigation and are working the case together.

The incident occurred Mar. 4 at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge, when a 29-year-old male Mexican citizen attempted to enter the United States in a 2015 Chevrolet pickup. CBP officers referred the vehicle for a secondary inspection, where officers and agriculture specialists discovered two live monkeys inside.

HSI arrested the driver and authorities seized the vehicle. The monkeys were turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will be housed at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

Howler monkeys are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Their importation is regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ultimately, monkeys are prohibited from importation as pets.

For more breaking news and information on HSI San Antonio’s efforts to aggressively investigate wildlife trafficking in South Texas follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSI_SanAntonio.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.