Posts Tagged ‘cartels’

Mexican Avocado Scare Rocks the Guac Out of USA

February 22, 2022

After a week-long pause, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowed imports of Mexican avocados to resume on Saturday, replenishing US guacamole reserves exhausted by Super Bowl parties. Imports ceased after a Mexico-based avocado inspector from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was threatened by crime cartels anxious to pass off Jalisco ‘cados as Michoacán-grown, the only ones currently allowed into the States.

With $3 billion in annual avocado exports, Mexican crime cartels have targeted another US drug of choice, guacamole. Mexico’s avocado growers face cartel extortion and hijackings. The boom crop is also responsible for drought, deforestation, and violence.

While the US has agreed to begin importing avocados from additional Mexican states as their crops are declared pest-free, those harvests will never be crime free.


“United States lifts Mexican avocado ban — averting what could have been a costly crisis,” By María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post

“How the Avocado Became Key to Mexican Drug Cartel Turf War,” Khaleda Rahman, Newsweek

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Image (“There Goes the Neighborhood”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Private Investor Improves Basic Infrastructure in Mexico

July 14, 2015

Private Investor Improves Basic Infrastructure in Mexico
Wealthy private investor Joaquin Guzmán has bankrolled a new tunnel in the Santa Juana neighborhood of Almoloya de Juárez, Mexico, 16 miles from Toluca. The tunnel, 5 1/2 feet in diameter, stretches about a mile from the Centro Federal de Readaptación Social No. 1 “Altiplano,” a government facility, to an unfinished house surrounded by cornfields, perhaps slated for future development. It is estimated that the sophisticated underground structure cost $5 million to complete.

More information:

“Mexico drug lord Guzman’s escape tunnel is a minor engineering masterpiece,” Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times

“How Mexico’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord Escaped From Prison (Again),” Larry Buchanan, Josh Keller, and Derek Watkins, New York Times

“Undermining Mexico: How ‘El Chapo’ built a criminal empire — and escaped prison — by digging deep.” Nick Miroff, Washington Post

“How a Mexican drug kingpin’s daring prison escape made him a hip-hop icon & an outlaw hero,” Matthew Pulver, Salon


“Underworld: How the Sinaloa drug cartel digs its tunnels,” Monte Reel, The New Yorker


Germany: Wurst Crime Ever

July 20, 2014

Germany: Wurst Crime Ever

Germany’s anti-trust agency (Bundeskartellamt) has fined 21 sausage manufacturers and 33 individuals $460 million for illegal price-fixing over two decades.  Gott im Himmel!

The ring is alleged to have met in Hamburg’s luxurious Hotel Atlantic. Wonder what they ate?

Sausages are central to the German identity, second only to beer. In related German crime news, thieves in the city of Krefeld broke into a warehouse and stole 300,000 liters (80,000 gallons) of beer. Ten truckloads. Worth $3 million. Right before Germany’s big World Cup celebration party.


“German sausage makers in meaty fine over price-fixing,” BBC News

“Bundeskartellamt imposes fines on sausage manufacturers,” press release


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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