The suspects, including a Wisconsin man known as “Mr. Ape,” are believed to have used cryptocurrency to fund the production of brutal monkey torture videos.
The report follows a recent crypto.news text about Mr. Ape crowdfunding cryptocurrency to acquire monkey torture videos for his community.
The international monkey torture ring uncovered by the BBC featured hundreds of paying customers worldwide who orchestrated the torture and killing of baby long-tailed macaques on film. At least in one case, transactions were facilitated using cryptocurrencies.
The Telegram app was the primary medium for customers to communicate and commission horrifying torture ideas. The United States Department of Homeland Security is at the forefront of the ongoing investigations.
US citizen under investigation
A Wisconsin man, Anthony Wrobel, is under indictment for allegedly selling animal torture videos over the last four years. These videos, which depict the grotesque killing of small animals like puppies, kittens, and rabbits, were made available via dark web subscriptions.
Following his arrest last week, instigated by animal rights organization PETA, Wrobel faces the possibility of up to 45 years imprisonment if convicted.
Lucy Kapetanich, a former adult dancer, unexpectedly became a pivotal figure in unearthing this horrific animal abuse. It began when YouTube’s algorithm led her to videos showcasing monkeys dressed in baby clothes, bathed, and forced to perform unnatural tasks.
These disturbing videos soon escalated into scenes of monkeys being mistreated and tortured, sparking Kapetanich to report them. YouTube, however, did not take immediate action. Kapetanich’s relentless pursuit of justice led her to connect with Dave Gooptar, a Caribbean freelance transcriber who had also been drawn into this dark realm.
Their collaboration brought more public attention to an underground online community, dubbed “monkey haters,” whose horrific hobby involves the severe abuse of baby macaques.
Despite successful efforts to shut down several YouTube channels hosting these videos, the community migrated to Telegram, where encrypted messages facilitate their illegal operations anonymously.
20 individuals prosecuted for selling torture videos
Further investigations have revealed more individuals involved in this horrific abuse. Mike McCartney, a former motorcycle gang member from Norfolk, Virginia, disclosed his involvement in the monkey torture ring through the Telegram group “Ape’s Cage.” Initially lured in by the sadistic appeal of the videos, McCartney soon saw an opportunity for financial gain. He began downloading torture videos from YouTube and selling them on Telegram, consequently becoming a notorious group member.
Additionally, Stacey Michelle Storey, a grandmother from Alabama, was identified as a significant contributor to the “Ape’s Cage” group. Operating under the screen name “Sadistic,” Storey commissioned graphic videos of monkey torture, often involving power tools and jars of acid, from an operator in Indonesia.
The discovery of Mr. Ape, another member of Ape’s Cage, brought a twist to the story. He and Storey planned on producing even more violent videos. Still, Mr. Ape claimed that he was working undercover to expose this cruel, illicit operation.
The investigation has since led to various addresses and individuals in Indonesia tied to filming the torture videos. However, efforts to prosecute those involved have been hindered due to the country’s lack of animal welfare regulations. In the United States, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have teamed up to tackle the issue, resulting in the arrests of five suspects nationwide.
Despite these grim revelations, there are glimmers of hope. A sanctuary outside of Bandung, Indonesia, has taken in numerous primates rescued from such torture.