Man detained at airport with 18 monkeys

July 20, 2010 at 2:50 PM
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MEXICO CITY, July 20 (UPI) -- Police in the Mexican capital said they detained a man at an airport who had 18 monkeys, two of them dead, hidden in a belt beneath his clothes.

Mexico's Pubic Safety Department said Roberto Sol Cabrera Zavaleta, 38, who arrived at the Mexico City airport from Lima, Peru, was stopped due to a bulge beneath his shirt and officers discovered he was hiding the small titi monkeys in a belt under his clothes, CNN reported Tuesday.

The suspect told police the monkeys were initially transported in his suitcase, but he moved them to the belt to keep them from being harmed by X-ray machines. He said he purchased the primates as "pets" for $30 in Peru.

Investigators said Titi monkeys are classified as a protected endangered species and require permits to own.

Police said Zavaleta was detained and the investigation is ongoing.

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