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Monkey seller to LA celebrity sentenced to probation

ORLANDO, Fla. – The owner of an exotic pet breeding business in Florida has been sentenced to five years’ probation for illegally selling a capuchin monkey to a Los Angeles celebrity.

A federal indictment does not name the celebrity, but key details match one Related press release that wildlife agents confiscated singer Chris Brown’s pet monkey after serving a search warrant at his Los Angeles home in early January 2018.

Wildlife agents moved in after Brown shared a picture of the capuchin monkey with millions of his followers on Instagram. Prosecutors later dropped charges of possessing the monkey without a permit after Brown agreed to relinquish his rights to Fiji and pay $35,000 to care for the monkey.

As for the monkey breeder, a federal judge in Tampa on Wednesday ordered Jimmy Hammonds to pay a $90,000 fine to a fund operated by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. He also has to serve eight months of his probation under house arrest.

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According to the indictment, the celebrity paid $12,650 to Hammonds, who ran Monkey Whisperer Ranch in Parrish, Florida. Under both Florida and California law, it is illegal to transfer a capuchin monkey without a permit.

Hammonds pleaded guilty to conspiracy and three counts of violations of the Endangered Species Act. Prosecutors said he also illegally sold endangered cotton-top tamarins to buyers in Alabama, South Carolina and Wisconsin while trying to cover up the sales.

Prosecutors had argued Hammonds deserved more than a year in prison, citing the need to deter others from committing similar crimes.

“In addition to licensed money breeding activities, the Hammonds frequently sold monkeys on the black market,” court documents say.

Hammonds’ attorney described him as a “hard-working, law-abiding member of the community” who helped people manage alcohol addiction and said none of the monkeys had been treated improperly or caused “adverse effects” on affected ecosystems.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/06/09/seller-of-monkey-to-la-celebrity-sentenced-to-probation/ Monkey seller to LA celebrity sentenced to probation

Sarah Y. Kim

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