Man Known As “The Monkey Whisperer” Sentenced For Trafficking Protected Primates – CBS Tampa
A Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), often called the Rhesus Monkey cleans her young one in her surrounding at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Gardens in Ahmedabad on January 12, 2010. The Rhesus Monkey is one of the best known species of old world monkeys and is native to Northern India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Afghanistan and southern China. AFP PHOTO/ Sam PANTHAKY (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)A Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), often called the Rhesus Monkey cleans her young one. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)
TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– Jimmy Wayne Hammonds, aka “the Monkey Whisperer” (58, Parrish), has been sentenced to five years’ probation, to include eight months home confinement, for one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and three counts of violating the abundant Species Act.
As part of his sentence, the Court also ordered Hammonds to pay a $90,000 fine to the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Lacey Act Reward Fund. Hammonds had pleaded guilty on March 2, 2022.
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According to court records, Hammonds owned and operated The Monkey Whisperer, LLC, a business engaged in the breeding and selling of wildlife. From September 2017 until February 2018, Hammonds conspired to sell a capuchin monkey to a celebrity client in California, already though that buyer could not lawfully possess a capuchin monkey in California. Hammonds facilitated the transportation of the capuchin monkey from Florida to California by individuals who were not permitted to possess a capuchin monkey in either state. The client paid over $12,000 for the animal. Law enforcement later seized that capuchin monkey from the client’s California residence.
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In addition, Hammonds illegally sold cotton-top tamarins, which are primates listed as an abundant species, to buyers in Alabama, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. To conceal his unlawful wildlife trafficking, Hammonds submitted false records to a law enforcement officer and attempted to persuade a observe to lie to a law enforcement officer by saying that they had purchased the cotton-top tamarins at a flea market. Hammonds had been before convicted in Florida state court for similar conduct in 2012.
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“In a number of states, it is illegal to buy, sell and own exotic pets,” said Edward Grace, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Director of the Office of Law Enforcement. “The illegal wildlife trade jeopardizes the future for many species, and we thank the U.S. Department of Justice, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for their work on this case.”
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