Last Tuesday, Mexican federal authorities and National Guard forces carried out a raid against cartel members of La Familia Michoacana (LFM) in the municipality of Texcaltitlan, Mexico. According to Mexican media, 11 cartel members were killed and another 10 were detained. The raid in and of itself was nothing out of the ordinary as LFM cells partake in drug trafficking operations across Mexico.
What has drawn everyone’s attention was the 12th fatality in the shootout. Among the dead was a spider monkey dressed in a camouflage hoodie and a mini plate carrier, who was found clutching its dead narco owner. The monkey has been named “El Changuito” by those online and has received an outpour of mourning.
Mexican officials are taking the monkey’s death seriously. According to Mexico Daily, the monkey’s body will undergo a necropsy by veterinary specialists from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEMex) since it is a protected species. This will help authorities in their investigation into the likelihood that monkey was illegally trafficked by the cartel and further bring charges to those who are detained. If this incident has a key point, it underscores illegal animal trafficking and how prominent it is in cartel culture and Mexico. Illegal wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry globally and goes hand in hand with out forms of illicit trade.