A cartel shootout in Mexico resulted in the death of 11 gang members, as well as a spider monkey, dressed in a tiny “bulletproof” vest, camouflage jacket, and diaper, CBS News reports. The monkey was found lying across the chest of a dead gunman believed to be his owner.
The Mexico Daily Post suspects the monkey belonged to a man with ties to Mexico’s La Familia Michoacana cartel. While the owner died from several gunshot wounds, the monkey’s cause of death remains a mystery, with an autopsy set to be performed by a veterinarian. Of the 11 individuals killed, 10 were confirmed dead in the aftermath of the shootout in the town of Texcaltitlan, while the other was pronounced dead at the hospital.
According to Infobae, the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Mexico said five men and three women were among the suspects who survived the shootout and were taken into custody. They could eventually face animal-trafficking charges. A minor under the age of 15 was also arrested.
Security analyst David Saucedo told the Associated Press that acquiring exotic animals is seen as a symbol of status and power, adding “a private zoo was a prerequisite for being part of the circle of big-time drug traffickers.” Saucedo suggested some cartels have used animals for more heinous practices, such as torture or making their victims disappear.