In the latest installment of America’s “Florida Man” fascination, the state’s “Monkey Whisperer” has been brought to justice over illegal wildlife practices.
Another one bites the dust. And a good thing, too, as the wildlife crimes this Florida man’s committed are no laughing matter.
In an indictment made public by the state Wednesday, Florida is charging the “Monkey Whisperer” in federal court with a laundry list of heinous crimes against wildlife. These include: illegally transporting primates, illegally selling primates, illegally possessing an endangered species, conspiracy, trafficking, and fraud.
As such, Florida’s “Monkey Whisperer” is now public: Enter Jimmy Wayne Hammonds, a 57-year-old Parrish, Florida resident. His crimes come in direct violation of state law, alongside violation of the Lacey Act, a federal law citing the illegal trade of wildlife.
The Fall of Florida Man’s “Monkey Empire”
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Hammonds “owned and operated a wildlife breeding and sales business called The Monkey Whisperer, LLC.” Through it, the Florida man recently attempted the sale of a capuchin monkey to a California buyer. In addition, the CA resident was also in illegal possession of the primate.
It was this incident that brought the hammer down on Hammonds. He stands accused of organizing the illegal transport of the primate across multiple state borders. The capuchin managed to make its way to California, where authorities seized the monkey from the buyer’s home, the Justice Department states.
This final straw was but the tip of the iceberg, however. Indictment details also detail Hammonds’ sales of the endangered cotton-top tamarin species. The Florida man managed to export the tamarin monkeys to purchasers in Wisconsin, Alabama, and South Carolina.
The majority of Hammonds’ fraud charges come from his concealment of these dealings. To do so, the former “Monkey Whisperer” would submit false records to authorities. Moreover, Florida officials are charging Hammonds with pressuring a witness to lie to law enforcement.
As a result, the Florida Man also stands charged of witness tampering, alongside violating the Endangered Species Act. For all crimes listed above, he faces over 30 years in prison. This staggering, three-decade count comes as the total of years from all charges brought against him.
It is still unclear if Hammonds will have an attorney to comment for, and defend, the Florida man.
It is, however, absolutely worth noting the good peoples of Florida, as well. The “Monkey Whisperer”s trial comes just days after these Florida Kids Help Save Life of Bald Eagle.
[Source: NBC 6, South Florida]