Pet monkey in a bulletproof vest found dead next to 'criminal' owner after Mexican cartel shootout 

Pet monkey in a bulletproof vest found dead next to 'criminal' owner after Mexican cartel shootout 

Pet monkey in a custom-made bulletproof vest is found dead next to its ‘criminal’ owner after Mexican cartel shootout

  • A pet monkey hitman in bulletproof vest was found among corpses of a shootout 
  • Bloody firefight took place between cartel members and Mexican authorities 
  • Eleven were killed and ten captured in Texcaltitlan, central Mexico, last week
  • Slain spider monkey a sign of narco class’s fascination with exotic animals 

A bloody shootout in Mexico between cartel and police took a turn for the macabre when authorities found a pet monkey dressed in a tiny bulletproof vest,  camouflaged jacket and miniature nappy by its slain owner.

As part of a recurring theme among Mexico’s narco classes for exotic pet animals, the spider monkey ‘sicario’ was found sprawled across the bullet-ridden body of a man in his 20s, along with ten others thought to be members of La Familia Michoacana cartel.

The firefight took place between the cartel group and heavily-armed police from the Attorney General’s Office and troops from the National Guard in the town of Texcaltitlan, central Mexico, just over 60 miles southwest of the capital, Mexico City on June 14. 

Stunned police came across the mascot primate with its arms outstretched as if its owner had been carrying it by the shoulders when they met their end. 

Inexplicably, the well-equipped dead gunman owner had a plastic bucket on his head. He was thought to be part of the regional leader of La Familia Michoacana’s security team – known was ‘El Gorilla’ – who escaped the confrontation.

The pet spider monkey was found dead atop its cartel member owner wearing a khaki hood, tiny bulletproof vest and nappy after a shootout with Mexican authorities

The firefight saw eleven gangsters killed and ten more captured in the town of Texcaltitlan, central Mexico, just over 60 miles southwest of the capital, Mexico City on June 14. A number of people were captured alive

The firefight saw eleven gangsters killed and ten more captured in the town of Texcaltitlan, central Mexico, just over 60 miles southwest of the capital, Mexico City on June 14. A number of people were captured alive

The shootout was thought to be with the security team of the regional leader of La Familia Michoacana cartel - known was 'El Gorilla' - who escaped the confrontation

The shootout was thought to be with the security team of the regional leader of La Familia Michoacana cartel – known was ‘El Gorilla’ – who escaped the confrontation

Eleven died at the scene – 12 if the monkey is included – and ten more were detained, with five of those detained being men and three women and one minor. 

Two members of the security team were hospitalised with gunshot wounds and two more were treated for less serious injuries after the gun battle in Texcaltitlan. Police say they confiscated a huge arsenal of weapons including 20 assault rifles, handguns and ammunition. 

The fascination with exotic and dangerous animals among Mexican gangsters is inspired by their Colombian forebears in the 1980s and 1990s. Primarily by the infamous Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel, where they were a symbol of status and power among drug lords.

It was first thought that the photos of the deceased monkey hitman were fakes, but authorities in Mexico confirmed their authenticity, and said it was unclear whether the monkey died in the hail of bullets that killed his owner. 

‘A primate was killed at the scene, which was presumably owned by a criminal who was also killed at the scene,’ state prosecutors said in a statement.

Eleven died at the scene - 12 if the monkey is included - and ten more were detained, with five of those detained being men and three women and one minor

Eleven died at the scene – 12 if the monkey is included – and ten more were detained, with five of those detained being men and three women and one minor

Two members of the security team were hospitalised with gunshot wounds and two more were treated for less serious injuries after the gun battle in Texcaltitlan

Two members of the security team were hospitalised with gunshot wounds and two more were treated for less serious injuries after the gun battle in Texcaltitlan

‘An autopsy will be carried out on the animal by a veterinarian specialized in the species’ and animal-trafficking charges would be considered against the suspects who survived the shootout,’ it added.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General for Environmental Protection said it had seized a tiger in Tecuala, in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, near the border with Sinaloa, which is home to the cartel of the same name.

The office said it acted ‘after receiving reports about a Bengal tiger that was wandering the streets of Tecuala,’ and found that the animal was being illegally kept there.

Those reports were based on a video posted on social media earlier this week, showing a young woman shrieking as she came across the tiger on the street in a residential neighborhood. ‘Be quiet, it might come close,’ a woman can be heard saying on the video.

Authorities said the tiger’s claws and fangs had been removed, and a man can be seen later in the video casually tossing a rope over the tiger’s neck and leading him away.

The 400-pound male Bengal stunned residents in the western city of Tecuala on Tuesday morning when it was spotted walking through the street. Authorities visited the property where the animal was being held and seized it

The 400-pound male Bengal stunned residents in the western city of Tecuala on Tuesday morning when it was spotted walking through the street. Authorities visited the property where the animal was being held and seized it

Federal Attorney General's Office for Environmental Protection on Wednesday was able to locate a tiger that seen on a viral video wandering the streets of the Mexican state of Nayarit and seized the wild cat because the owner failed to show a legal permit that allowed the possession of the feline

Federal Attorney General’s Office for Environmental Protection on Wednesday was able to locate a tiger that seen on a viral video wandering the streets of the Mexican state of Nayarit and seized the wild cat because the owner failed to show a legal permit that allowed the possession of the feline

Perhaps the most tragic story came out of the western state of Michoacan, which has long been dominated by the Carteles Unidos gang and the Jalisco cartel.

On Sunday, authorities confirmed that a man was seriously wounded by a tiger in Periban, Michoacan, a town in the state’s avocado-growing region, where gangs have long extorted protection payments from the lucrative avocado trade.

In a video posted on social media, whose authenticity could not be confirmed, the man is seen calling the tiger to the side of a fenced enclosure. ‘Come on, come,’ the man can be heard entreating.

The man stands outside the enclosure, apparently feeding the tiger with one hand, while he stretches his other arm through the chain-link fence to stroke the animal’s neck.

The man then shrieks in pain after the tiger quickly wheels and bites the extended arm and refuses to let go. Eventually the tiger mauled both the man’s arms.

Horrific footage shows the zookeeper telling the big cat to come to him from behind a chain link fence with an outstretched hand. But as he starts to stroke the tiger's neck, the tiger suddenly sinks its teeth into his hand and pulls him towards the fence

De Jesus screams in agony as the tiger pulls his hand with its ferociously strong jaw, refusing to let go

Horrific footage shows the zookeeper telling the big cat to come to him from behind a chain link fence with an outstretched hand. But as he starts to stroke the tiger’s neck, the tiger suddenly sinks its teeth into his hand and pulls him towards the fence

Michoacan state law enforcement authorities confirmed that the man was taken to a hospital, where he died a few days later from his injuries.

Mexican law allows private citizens to keep exotic animals if they register them under strictly supervised conditions. But Security analyst David Saucedo said criminals sometimes go to the length of getting such permits.

Saucedo said drug traffickers often keep exotic animals as a symbol of status and power, imitating the Colombian drug lords of the 1980s and 90s.

‘Mexican drug traffickers copied from the narcos of the Medellin cartel the custom of acquiring exotic animals and setting up private zoos,’ said Saucedo. ‘According to the code of the drug trafficking aristocracy, having a private zoo was a prerequisite for being part of the circle of big-time drug traffickers.’

In some cases, the animals had a more sinister use.

‘Some drug cartel capos, like Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano, acquired exotic animals to torture or disappear their victims,’ Saucedo said. ‘Several of his enemies were devoured by the tigers or the crocodiles that the Zetas kept in their pens or cages.’

Lazcano himself was killed in a shootout with Mexican military personnel in 2012.

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Walter Finch

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