A Texas lady was detained for attempting to bring an endangered spider monkey into the country against the law. On March 21, a 20-year-old woman attempted to cross the border from Mexico into the United States through Brownsville, Texas’ Gateway International Bridge. According to a press statement from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Savannah Nicole Valdez pled guilty to bringing wildlife into the country without first declaring and billing it and evading an immigration checkpoint.
The woman informed the border patrol officers that although the wooden box in her car was loaded with alcohol she had purchased from Mexico, the spider monkey was what she intended to sell. After discovering a live spider monkey within the box that the official had opened, she was sent for further examination. But instead of doing as they asked, the woman rushed off, ran a red light, and almost slammed into the police car and other cars. The announcement stated that later that day, agents discovered many internet adverts with Valdez’s phone number for the sale of the spider monkey in the Katy and Houston regions.
The woman surrendered herself on March 28. According to the press statement, the lady acknowledged bringing the monkey into the country despite not reporting it and evading police on purpose. The endangered spider monkey was found and taken to an animal refuge in Central Florida.
On January 25, 2023, the 20-year-old lady will get her punishment, the press announcement stated. Craig Larrabee, acting special agent in charge, HSI San Antonio, stated in the statement that bringing endangered species into the country for profit ‘is a sad crime against nature’s valuable resources’. The Humane Society International (HSI) ‘uses every opportunity to join our government, private sector, and international partners to share our knowledge, expertise, and investigative tactics geared to conserve and preserve vulnerable and endangered species’.