Brutal Mexican cartel murders could be linked to 'billion-dollar' avocado trade, says expert

  • 13/08/2019
Avocados are seen at a packaging warehouse of Hoja Redonda plantation in Chincha, Peru, September 3, 2015. The eighth World Avocado Congress, an event dedicated to production, export and marketing of Hass avocados, will be held in Peru from September 13 to September 18. Peru is the second largest exporter of Hass avocados in the world, according to local media. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo - RTX1R0SZ
Photo credit: File

Warning: This article contains graphic details which may disturb.


The mutilated corpses of nineteen people have been discovered in Mexico, and an expert says it could be due to cartels trying to corner the avocado market.

The massacre in Uruapan, Michoacan, last Thursday was claimed by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. 

International Crisis Group researcher Falko Ernst told The Guardian while drugs are certainly a motivator for cartels; the real money comes from avocados. 

The highly lucrative industry is "the big magnet" according to Ernst.

"The avocado sector, a billion-dollar industry, after all, is too attractive [for cartels] to pass up on," he said on Thursday.

A white banner reading "lovely people, carry on with your routines," was hung next to nine of the bodies, which were found half-naked and mutilated, hanging from an overpass.

The banner had the initials of the cartel, as well as the slogan "Be patriotic and kill a Viagra" in reference to rival Viagras gang.

Ten more bodies were found dismembered and bullet-riddled nearby.

The state attorney general Adrian Lopez Solis blamed the brutal massacre on a clash over territory and drugs, reports local news site La Voz. 

"Unfortunately this conflict results in these kinds of acts that justifiably alarm the public," he said in a press conference on Thursday. 



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