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CBP Agriculture Specialists Intercept Howler Monkeys at Brownsville/Matamoros International Bridge

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge intercepted two live howler monkeys in a vehicle in a single enforcement action. Image for illustration purposes
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge intercepted two live howler monkeys in a vehicle in a single enforcement action. Image for illustration purposes
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BROWNSVILLE, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agriculture specialists at the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge intercepted two live howler monkeys in a vehicle in a single enforcement action.

“Our frontline CBP officers’ diligence in the performance of their duties led them to the discovery of two live howler monkeys transported in a vehicle,” said Acting Port Director Michael B. Reyes, Brownsville Port of Entry. “CBP remains committed to preventing the exploitation of protected animals and the spread of animal diseases.”

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

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Homeland Security Investigations special agents initiated a criminal investigation and arrested the driver. The vehicle was seized. 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, 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.

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.

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