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General News Mon, 1 Jan 2001

The Curse of the \'Devil\' Monkey

LONDON (Reuters) - A monkey loaded with cannabis, 700 boxes of papier-mache avocados stuffed with cocaine, swallowing 117 drug-filled condoms -- these are just a few tricks of the smuggling trade. British Customs and Excise officials Tuesday disclosed some quirky smuggling ruses which include stowing ecstasy and amphetamines in the arms of a giant digger and hiding half a kilo of cocaine beneath an afro-style wig.

A hollowed-out primate has been dubbed the ``devil monkey\'\' because it weighed 14.5 lbs. and was used to carry 666 grams of herbal cannabis, according to David Knott, a spokesman for Customs and Excise in the south east of England.

Knott said its owner, a Rastafarian carpenter from Ghana, is believed to have put a curse on the animal after his arrest and several officials have since complained of injuries.

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``It\'s been a bit bizarre,\'\' Knott said. ``It fell off the table on to someone\'s foot and there have been some quite sharp splinters.

``It then degenerated into sort of folklore. Anything that went wrong, the monkey got the blame.\'\'

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