May 19, 2024
How many people were kidnapped, tortured and murdered for your avocado?
Almost all of Mexico's avocados are grown in the fertile volcanic soil of Michoacán. Gabriel Castaneda, director of security policy in Michoacán, says the gangs, which are thought to have 200,000 members in his state alone, have seized 35 per cent of the £1.9billion sector.
Almost all of Mexico’s avocados are grown in the fertile volcanic soil of Michoacán. Gabriel Castaneda, director of security policy in Michoacán, says the gangs, which are thought to have 200,000 members in his state alone, have seized 35 per cent of the £1.9billion sector.

Sergio was working in the avocado orchards when two men suddenly appeared and told him to accompany them to see their boss. Having already survived a kidnapping and execution threat, he knew this was bad news.

He was driven a few miles to another orchard, where a prominent drug cartel chief was sitting at a table surrounded by 15 heavily armed goons. Sergio was offered a glass of water, asked a few innocuous questions, then dismissed.

A few days later, the phone calls started. He was told to tell his boss to give the two men almost £100,000 – a huge sum in Mexico, where the average annual household income is about £6,600.

‘The men said they were asking for a contribution because they had so many expenses and workers to pay,’ he said. ‘They said they were asking in a friendly way – but if we were not friendly, then they would take other measures.’

Sergio, a tall and amiable man, knew what this meant. Farmers have been disappearing and turning up dead in Michoacán, the fertile heart of Mexico’s billion-pound avocado trade, ever since drug cartels discovered the humble green fruit could be as lucrative as heroin.

Sergio’s bosses duly negotiated a lower sum and he delivered the agreed first instalment. Two days later came another call. ‘They asked if this was a joke, saying it was not enough money and wanting the original amount.’

[…]

See Also:

(1) Mexican drug cartels Sinaloa and CJNG could try to corrupt NZ Customs and police – report

(2) ‘El Menchito,’ son of feared Mexican drug kingpin, extradited to US

(3) DEA agent allegedly laundered money for Colombian drug cartel

(4) Stakes are high as rising mayhem tarnishes Cancún’s longstanding allure

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