Notorious Monkey Smuggler Caught in Mexico

A Mexican man has been arrested after trying to smuggle monkeys back from Lima, Peru. Authorities searched Roberto Sol Cabrera at the Mexico City international airport when they noticed he was behaving “nervously.” The search quickly revealed the reason behind his funny behavior: He has hidden 18 small titi monkeys in a girdle around his waist.

Cabrera was arrested on charges of trafficking an endangered species. He told authorities that the monkeys had traveled in his luggage, and that he had put them under his clothes to go through customs and X-ray machines. Police say the little animals had been tied into socks and two died in transit.

South American titi monkeys are an endangered specie; those that Cabrera transported were reportedly only six-inches tall. Cabrera said he paid about $30 a pop for the monkeys, which can fetch around $1,500 from people who want to keep them as pets.

Animal trafficking is a big issue in Mexico, where it’s long been a tradition to keep wild animals as pets. It’s also an easy stopover for smuggling animals into the U.S. from South America. The government has placed increased restrictions on importing of primates, but monkeys are still openly sold at Mexico City’s Sonora market.