4 of Mexico’s cartels are fighting for control of the avocado business
Avocado growers in Michoacan state, home to 80% of Mexico’s production, are being targeted by four of the country’s cartels.
Avocado is an increasingly lucrative resource for criminal groups, and they have a history of shaking down the state’s producers.
Four competing drug cartels are extorting avocado producers in Michoacán, Mexico, showing how the fruit is becoming an increasingly important source of illicit profits in the context of shifting criminal dynamics in the state.
The Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación — CJNG), the Nueva Familia Michoacana, the Tepalcatepec Cartel and the Zicuirán Cartel are all involved in this growing criminal economy, according to Michoacán’s attorney general.
Michoacán produces over 80% of Mexico’s avocados, with an annual export value of around $2.4 billion, earning the fruit the nickname “green gold.”
Competition for these criminal profits has fed into the wave of violence currently engulfing Michoacán. In August 2019, 19 people were massacred in Uruapan, the center of Michoacán’s avocado industry. Their bodies were displayed in three locations around the town.
They even have their own specialized unit, Mexico Avocado Police: