Cartels Battle Over Mexico’s Multibillion-Dollar Avocado Industry

Nation/World
Avocado groves carved into the hillside outside the city of Uruapan, where cartels have evolved beyond drug trafficking and now prey on the avocado trade. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Avocado groves carved into the hillside outside the city of Uruapan, where cartels have evolved beyond drug trafficking and now prey on the avocado trade. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The cartel members showed up in this verdant stretch of western Mexico armed with automatic weapons and chainsaws.

Soon they were cutting timber day and night, the crash of falling trees echoing throughout the virgin forest. When locals protested, explaining that the area was protected from logging, they were held at gunpoint and ordered to keep quiet.

Stealing wood was just a prelude to a more ambitious plan.

The newcomers, members of a criminal group called the Viagras, were almost certainly clearing the forest to set up a grow operation. They wouldn’t be planting marijuana or other crops long favored by Mexican cartels, but something potentially even more profitable: avocados.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

 

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