U.S. Agent in Gorilla Suit Catches Primate Smugglers
MIAMI — A federal agent disguised in a gorilla suit and placed in a cage helped nab Mexican zoo officials who were attempting to smuggle primates to their homeland, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
The Mexicans, including Victor Bernal, 57, the director of zoos and parks for the interior state of Mexico, were shown real gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees at Miami-area zoos, authorities said.
They were told the animals could be smuggled to Mexico and that they would be delivered Monday, authorities said.
"But it's risky and dangerous to use a real animal, so we had to use a willing substitute--an agent in a gorilla outfit," Assistant U.S. Atty. Dan Gelber said.
The agent was placed in a cage at the Opa-Locka airport, supposedly to be flown to the Toluca zoo in Mexico. Bernal and two Mexican middlemen took delivery of him, authorities said.