Monkey Smuggling

BIOTERRORBIBLE.COM: In the aftermath of man-made bio-terror generated pandemic, the government and media may attempt to scapegoat monkeys just as they did in the 1994 book The Hot Zone and the 1995 blockbuster movie entitled Outbreak. Since 9/11, there have been unprecedented reports of monkey attacks, monkey escapes, monkey thefts and monkey smuggling which may suggest that the monkey scapegoat option is being primed for prime-time.

Title: Man Nabbed For Monkey Smuggling
November 6, 2006
Japan Times

Abstract: A Japanese man has been arrested in Bangkok on suspicion of trying to smuggle a rare monkey species to Japan, according to Thai police.

The man was identified as Takashi Yokohari, 36, of Saitama Prefecture.

Yokohari allegedly tried Friday to board a flight to Narita from Suvarnabhumi airport with nine slow loris, or nycticebus coucang, in five suitcases.

Exports of the rare primate without authorization are banned.

"I bought them at a market in Bangkok. I planned to keep them as pets," he was quoted as telling the police.

If convicted, he could face a four-year prison term or a fine of 40,000 baht (about 130,000 yen), according to Thai authorities (Japan Times, 2006).

Title: 2 Convicted On Monkey Smuggling-Related Charges
Date: December 9, 2008
Source: Spokesman Review

Abstract: A 29-year-old Spokane woman and her mother were convicted today by a U.S. District Court jury of federal charges related to smuggling a monkey into the United States.

Gypsy Lawson hid the young rhesus macaque monkey under her blouse, pretending to be pregnant when she successfully passed through U.S. Customs after a trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

She didn’t run afoul of the law until she took the young monkey she named Apoo to a Spokane shopping mall the day after Christmas last year.

Her mother, Fran Ogren, 55, of Northport, Wash., also went on the trip in November 2007.

The two women were found guilty by a 12-member jury on separate charges of conspiracy and smuggling goods into the United States.

The women traveled to Thailand last year after establishing e-mail contact with a man named Boris. After going to several villages, the women gave the young monkey sleeping pills to sedate him before boarding planes for the United States.

During the trip home, Ogren sent an e-mail to “NE Washington Witches and Pagans” at a Yahoo account and asked “for last-minute energy” to help them safely smuggle the monkey into the United States.

The request worked and the women got past U.S. Customs officials in Los Angeles.

The monkey caper ended the day after Christmas last year when Pratt and Lawson visited the Fashion Bug store in north Spokane and told a clerk how the monkey was smuggled into the United States. That clerk called federal agents, who opened the investigation.

The jury got the case late Friday after a four-day trial. The panel resumed deliberations this morning and reached a verdict about 10 a.m.

Lawson’s boyfriend, James Edward Pratt, testified as a prosecution witness during the trial.

Pratt, 34, also was indicted in the scheme and faced felony charges. But last July he struck a plea bargain with federal prosecutors and agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and testify as a government witness. Besides Pratt’s testimony, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Van Marter introduced journals, e-mails and photos taken by federal agents during a search of Ogren’s home. The evidence was introduced in an attempt to confirm the monkey-smuggling conspiracy.

The monkey was seized by federal agents and transported in a specialized vehicle with a quarantine compartment to a Center for Disease Control facility in California. After being quarantined for several weeks, the monkey did not test positive for any infectious diseases, other than being a carrier for the Herpes B virus.

The monkey is now at a primate rescue facility in Oregon where it will remain, said Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice.

Lawson and Ogren will remain free on their own recognizance until sentencing on March 3.

U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt said the case highlights the partnerships between federal prosecutors, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Royal Thai Police.

“These defendants purposely undertook a course of action which could well have endangered many citizens, as well as the life of the animal in question,” McDevitt said.

Paul Chang, Pacific Northwest supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the “callousness and intent these people showed in carrying out their plan was egregious and placed at risk not only wildlife but potentially the health of other passengers on the plane and in their community.”

“These animals are known carriers of viruses and parasites that can be transmitted to humans, although this particular animal tested negative,” Chang said (Spokesman Review, 2008).

Title: NYC Woman Gets Probation for Smuggling Monkey Skulls, Parts
Date: December 14, 2009
Source: Fox News

Abstract: A New York City woman who was caught smuggling monkey meat through Customs has been sentenced to probation.

Mamie Manneh was arrested in 2006 after agents seized a shipment of dozens of primate parts hidden in a batch of smoked fish.

The boxes included the skulls, limbs and torsos of monkeys and baboons. She was charged with smuggling endangered species.

Manneh's lawyers argued that she and other African immigrants on Staten Island needed the meat for religious reasons.

The judge ultimately rejected that defense but gave Manneh a lenient sentence because she has 11 children and is mentally ill (Fox News, 2009).

Title: 200 Monkeys Are Smuggled Every Month Into Bali For Consumption
Date: July 3, 2011
Source: Jakarta Updates

Abstract: Every month about 200 monkeys are smuggled from East Java to Bali. The monkey which are from species called Javan Lutung locally or Trachypithecus Auratus and long tail monkey or Macaca fascicularis is believed to be smuggled for medical consumption.

The meat of these monkey species is traditionally believed by some people to cure asthma.

Most of the monkeys were smuggled from Lumajang, Jember and Banyuwangi in East Java. The monkeys were thought to be captured around or in the conservation area in East Java such as Baluran and Meru Betiri National Park.

ProFauna, which is a non profit organization campaigning for education, wildlife rehabilitation and animal rescue, urge Balinese to stop buying and consume monkeys. In addition, ProFauna also encourage local governments to tighten controls in the Port Gilimanuk, Bali, and the Port Ketapang, East Java where most of the smuggling are taken place.

According to ProFauna’s record, the primates being traded are wild caught instead of captive bred. ProFauna has been observing this smuggling operation since 2008

Most of the traded primates for pets are babies because they are cute and tame. However, when the primates get older and wilder, most owners will neglect or simply put them to death.

The more endangered the primates are, the higher they cost. Protected species like Javan Lutung and slow loris are sold for USD 20 each while the endangered ones like gibbon and orangutan can fetch to more than USD 100 to USD 200 respectively.

“Most of the Indonesian primates are protected by law. It is illegal to trade and keep these animals as pets. Not only the trade is a crime but it also causes cruelties to the animals” added Rosek.

According the 1990 wildlife act concerning natural resources conservation, violator of the act are liable to up to five year prison time or USD 10,000 in fine.

Rosek said that ProFauna Indonesia will continue to campaign against the illegal trade and cruelty of the Indonesian primates. ProFauna keeps encouraging the public to help the organization to protect the primates by stop buying the primates.

Rosek added, “Buying is killing. If people keep buying the traded primates, more of them will be caught from the wild. Stop buying is the simple way that the public can help to protect and conserve the primates in Indonesia” (Jakarta Updates, 2011).

Title: Traveler Smuggled 18 Monkeys Through Customs, Under His Clothing
Date: July 20, 2010

Abstract: World Travelers are very careful not to travel with anything that could cause them to be held up or, heaven forbid, arrested at check in.  Even that bottle of sunscreen that's more than the 3oz can cause delay and confiscation.

So what do you think of the traveler who tried to smuggle 18 monkeys through customs in his clothing?

That's right.


Mexican authorities have just arrested a man because he was attempting to smuggle 18 small monkeys into the country by hiding them in his clothing, reports the BBC

Roberto Sol Cabrera, who is a Mexican citizen, was stopped as part of a random check at Mexico City's international airport when he landed from Lima.

Police reported that Mr Cabrera Zavaleta had been behaving "nervously" and had a bulge around his stomach, said CNN.

Officials searched the man and found he had hidden 18 titi monkeys in a girdle around his waist.

After his arrest, Mr Sol Cabrera admitted to having put the monkeys at first in his luggage, then later under his clothing "to protect them from X-rays" as he passed through the customs checkpoint.

Stuffed into socks, and slung on his belt, two of the tiny titi monkeys were dead at the time the confiscation took place. The species is on the Endangered List.

Mr. Sol Cabrera will remain in custody as he had no permit for transporting the monkeys. Mr. Cabrera said he paid $30 for each monkey in Peru, said the Huffington Post. They were valued at between $775 and $1550 in Mexico.

Adrian Reuter, who represents Traffic - an international organization that monitors wildlife trade - told the BBC that animal trafficking is a serious problem in Mexico.

"The reasons are two: one, because Mexico is an important route for those who want to smuggle animals into the US, and the other, because, as in other countries of Latin America, there is a deep-rooted tradition of having wild animals as pets," he said.

The Sonora market, in the Mexican capital, is known to sell parrots, monkeys or reptiles for private owners.

Cabrera was arrested and charged with trafficking an endangered species, reports CBS.

It just goes to show: you just never know what your fellow world traveler may be carrying with them, do you?

Re travel: San Francisco residents can find flights to Mexico or any other country by checking out deals at  Flights leave from the SFO International airport (Examiner, 2010).

Title: Dumb Woman Caught Smuggling Biological Weapon In Bra
Date: March 11, 2011
Source: TruTV

Abstract: Monkeys are not our friends.

Sure, they’re cute and furry. Dress a monkey up like a butler and they look just like adorable little people! But the truth is far more terrifying: monkeys are disease-ridden monsters quietly biding their time until they can take over the planet. Haven’t any of you seen that documentary Planet of the Apes

These animals should not be pets. They should be left in the wild. Personally, I think all monkeys, chimps, apes and gorillas, should be rounded up and moved to one secure location. Monkey Island will be off-limits. This is the only way humanity can ever be truly safe.

According to authorities, a Virginia-woman recently arrived at a country courthouse with a baby marmoset monkey tucked into her bra.

This terrorist-sympathizer actually made it through security with the monkey before court officials discovered the stowaway. Officials claim she was at the courthouse to fill out “routine paperwork.” During this process, she kept referring to “daughter.” That is when, according to authorities, she pulled the monkey out from her cleavage.

When shocked courthouse workers asked why she had brought the monkey, named Cara, the woman responded “would you leave your child at home?”

The woman has not been charged with a crime, yet. When asked how the monkey made it through security, a deputy said “It wasn’t armed.” I'm so glad he can laugh at such a close call.

Perhaps this deputy was in on the plot.

Maybe this woman isn’t a disabled animal lover who also counts keeps a gecko, garter snake, and three Chihuahua as pets. This could just be a sinister cover. She might be a simian sympathizer. This infant monkey “Cara” could be some sort of cuddly spy working for smart apes looking to destabilize mankind.

Let’s not forget all of the diseases that monkeys can carry, diseases like ebola, tuberculosis and DEATH.
The Department of Homeland Security should investigate this security breach as soon as possible. 
In the meantime, we should pass laws that make owning these distant and hostile cousins of humanity illegal. 

Monkeys are not pets. They are dangerous banana-junkies throbbing with plagues too numerous to count. These living biological weapons should not be bought or sold. Let them stay in the jungle (TruTV, 2011).

Smuggled Endangered Primates Put Down
May 13, 2011
The Age

Abstract: Two endangered primates smuggled aboard a Brisbane-bound flight from Singapore had to be put down by quarantine officers.

Crew aboard the Emirates flight found the two slow lorises in the cabin mid-flight.

The plane landed in Brisbane just before 6am yesterday and customs and quarantine officials boarded the plane and took possession of the animals.

Australian Quarantine Inspection Service spokesman Colin Hunter said the animals posed a threat to Australian native wildlife.

"Slow lorises can carry several diseases ... including rabies and they also have a bite that is toxic," Mr Hunter said.

He said the species had high protection under international endangered species trade conventions.

Mr Hunter said the animals had to be put down.

Slow lorises are often kept as pets in south-east Asian countries.

Illegal trade has caused the species to be threatened with extinction.

A quarantine spokesman said no one had been charged for smuggling the animals but investigations were continuing.

People caught breaching Australian quarantine laws can face fines of up to $60,000 and jail time.

Illegally trading animals can fetch offenders 10 years' jail and up to $110,000 fines (The Age, 2011).

Title: Diseased Monkey Heads, Smoked Rodents: The very Real Airport Health Threats From Wild Animal Smuggling
Date: January 12, 2012
Source: Daily Mail

Abstract: Deadly viruses and pathogens may be passing through the United States' borders after mutating into new unpredictable forms which infect an illegal trade of bushmeat, or wild African meat, a study published Tuesday stated.

The body parts of approximately 44 animals including primates and rodents from African countries were tested after confiscation from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and four other internationals in the U.S.

According to the tests, pathogens including several strains of the Herpes virus along with viruses responsible for the development and cross-species transmission of HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, were found positive with the items carried into the U.S.

The report published in PLoS ONE explained the U.S. as one of the world's largest consumers of imported wildlife products equating to 120,000,000 annually, however most for pets.

New York was identified as the most popular port in the country for these products with its business along with Los Angeles' and Miami's accounting for over half of all reported wildlife imports.

The world trade of these shipped animals, some found smoked while others raw, connects to such diseases as SARS, the respiratory and gastrointestinal malady which killed 774 after spreading to 29 countries outside southwest China, along with various strains of the herpes virus.

'We know a fair amount about the risks of harvesting and slaughtering the animals in countries far away,' Nina Marano, branch chief of quarantine and border health services at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Huffington Post, 'but we wanted to know more about the persistence, if any, [of pathogens] once the animals have been slaughtered.'

The study titled Zoonotic Viruses Associated with Illegally Imported Wildlife Products warned that 89 per cent of bushmeat hunted in the country of Cameroon alone had been found infected with strains of a virus called STLV that later developed into HIV - likely by hunted chimpanzees and mangabeys, according to the study.

These were similarly found transmitted to the hunters themselves having not just a novel strain of STLV-1 but two others, HTLV-3 and HTLV-4, which infects 15-20 million worldwide via bodily fluids.

Today the report states that nearly 75 per cent of emerging infectious diseases found in humans are of zoonotic, or diseases of animal-spread origin.

These viruses, specifically mentioned in connection to the Cameroon hunters, were noted with their potential to cause leukemia, lymphoma along with neurological disease in humans.

As its aim, the study looks to unravel the possibility of transmitting these viruses and any others to humans by their importation into the U.S.

'These results are the first demonstration that illegal bushmeat importation into the United States could act as a conduit for pathogen spread, and suggest that implementation of disease surveillance of the wildlife trade will help facilitate prevention of disease emergence,' the report states.

As the study details, among those items confiscated by travellers, 'The freshest part of each item was located (muscle appearing red or raw, joint fluid, bone marrow, etc.) and several samples were taken from each item, placed in cryotubes, and preserved immediately in liquid nitrogen.'

Previously confiscated animal parts by the US Customs and Border Protection between 2008 and 2010 were also used in their study.

Following April of 2010, confiscations made at the international airports of Philadelphia, Washington D.C.'s Dulles, Houston's George Bush Intercontinental and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International were also included in the study (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: Monkey Smugglers Nabbed In Saudi
Date: February 16, 2012
Source: Emirates

Abstract: Saudi police arrested two Afghan men after seizing 40 monkeys in their truck destined for the local market, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The two confessed that they had been trading in monkeys they hunt in the mountains and selling them to animal zoos and other customers in the western Red Sea port of Jeddah, Aljazeera Arabic language daily said.

Police seized the two in the western town of Taif after suspected their truck was carrying illegal items, the paper said.

“They confessed to the police that they hunt monkeys alive in Taif mountains and sell them in Jeddah…the two will face trial on charges of illegal trading and violating the labour law,” it said (Emirates, 2012).

Title: Airport Guards Catch Man Smuggling Rare Primate In His Pants
Date: September 10, 2012

Abstract: He had a primate in his underpants.

That's the explanation airport guards at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport gave Sunday for detaining a man from the United Arab Emirates who allegedly had the tiny, big-eyed critter hidden in his underwear.

The guards were conducting a routine pat-down of the Dubai-bound passenger when they discovered the rare, slender loris, according to Hemendra Singh, a spokesman for the Central Industrial Security Force.

The loris is a nocturnal primate that grows to no more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) long, according to the conservation group Edge of Existence. The species, native to Sri Lanka, is listed as endangered under the Wildlife Protection Act of India.

Authorities found a second loris abandoned in a trash can. They sent both to wildlife authorities, Singh said.

Guards turned over the man and two fellow travelers to customs officials. No charges have been filed (CNN, 2012).