A 2017 PETA tip alerting California officials that Chris Brown illegally had a capuchin monkey as a pet sparked an investigation into its dealer, a man from Parrish, Florida, also known as “The Monkey Whisperer.”
Jimmy Wayne Hammonds has now pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Lacy Act, which prohibits illegal wildlife trafficking, and three counts of violating the Endangered Species Act. Hammonds now faces up to eight years in federal prison.
“Exotic pets aren’t toys, fashions, or Instagram props for celebrities, nor are they a commercial enterprise,” said Michelle Sinnott, associate director of the PETA Foundation for the App. the Animals in Captivity Act, in a statement provided. “Many animal advocates alerted PETA to Chris Brown’s illegal possession of this monkey, and they helped us take down a cruel and criminal breeder.”
Hammonds conspired to sell the money to Brown between September 2017 and February 2018. In California, it is illegal to keep a monkey as a pet, which is stated on the homepage of Hammonds’ business website.
Brown paid more than $12,000 for the monkey, which was later seized by California wildlife investigators.
Hammonds also illegally sold cottony-crested tamarins – a very small monkey found only in northwest Colombia and listed as an endangered species – to buyers in Alabama, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
Law enforcement also believes Hammonds sold rapper Swae Lee, a member of the Rae Sremmurd duo, two spider monkeys, according to court records.
This story was originally published March 3, 2022 11:53 a.m.