• A monkey wearing a bulletproof vest and camouflage jacket was found dead after a cartel shootout in Mexico.
  • The monkey was a pet belonging to one of the cartel members, who also was killed.
  • Drug traffickers in Mexico often keep exotic animals as a symbol of status and power.

A spider monkey wearing a bulletproof vest was found dead after a bloody cartel shootout in Mexico among the bodies of 11 bullet-riddled gangsters, reports say.

The monkey was reported to be the pet of a man in his 20s said to be part of Mexico's notorious La Familia Michoacana cartel, according to The Mexico Daily Post.

Its owner was found dead with several bullet wounds and the monkey lying on its chest following a gunfight between the criminal group and authorities in the town of Texcaltitlan in Mexico City state on Tuesday. 

Photographs circulated on social media showed the small monkey lying splayed out dressed in a bulletproof vest, a camouflage jacket, and a diaper.


Mexican authorities confirmed the authenticity of the images, and said it was unclear whether the monkey died due to gunfire, said AP. 

"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, according to AP.

The statement said an autopsy will be carried out by a veterinarian, and that authorities will consider whether to bring animal-trafficking charges against the surviving suspects.

According to The Mexico Daily Post, 10 men were killed during the shootout on Tuesday, and one more died in hospital. 

Authorities seized various weapons including firearms, vehicles and cartridges, and several suspects were detained, according to the paper.

The Attorney General's Office of the State of Mexico also released images of detained suspects, including five men and three women, Infobae reported.

A minor under the age of 15 was also arrested.

The incident shines a light on criminals' fixation with exotic pets in Mexico. On the same day, videos circulated on social media of a Bengal tiger walking through the streets of Tecuala in western Mexico. 

A man can be seen approaching the tiger and placing a rope around its neck and leading it away. The tiger's claws and fangs had been removed, authorities said, according to AP. 

Security analyst David Saucedo told AP that Mexican drug traffickers often keep exotic animals as a symbol of status and power.

"Mexican drug traffickers copied from the Medellín cartel the custom of acquiring exotic animals and setting up private zoos," Saucedo told the outlet. "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."

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