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8 men indicted in monkey smuggling operation

Thailand Monkey Festival
Posted at 11:03 AM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 11:03:13-05

The Department of Justice indicted eight people for their role in allegedly smuggling endangered monkeys into the U.S.

Two of the men indicted are Cambodian wildlife officials, the Justice Department says. One of them was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport this week.

“Masphal KRY, a government official for the Cambodian Forestry Administration, will face justice in America," said Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel from Homeland Security Investigations.

The other six suspects include Cambodians and residents of Hong King, who work for a biomedical firm.

The indictment claims two men, working out of Hong Kong, conspired with black market collectors and "corrupt officials" in Cambodia to acquire wild-caught macaques and launder them.

“The macaque is already recognized as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,” said Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. “The practice of illegally taking them from their habitat to end up in a lab is something we need to stop. Greed should never come before responsible conservation."