April 2, 2014
THIS STORY IS ABOUT MEXICO’S LIME PROBLEM:
As a result of high prices and rampant lawlessness in some Mexican regions, criminals who may be linked to drug gangs are plundering fruit from groves and hijacking trucks being used for export, said Bill Vogel, president of Vision Produce, a Los Angeles-based importer. A truck headed for Vision’s sister company in Texas was hijacked two weeks ago in Mexico, he said, and growers and shippers now are hiring armed guards to protect their green gold.
The produce wars on the ground are not limited to limes. Criminal cartels now control, to a shocking extent, the growing and packing of much of the Mexican produce on which United States consumers depend. An article last November in the Mexican newspaper Vanguardia reported that the Knights Templar drug cartel has used kidnapping, murder, money laundering and terror to take over the lucrative avocado business in Michoacán, the top state for production and export of the fruit.
Criminal elements also have significantly infiltrated the Mexican mango industry to launder money, said Richard Campbell, a horticulturist and mango expert who travels to Mexico several times a year as a consultant. “Many growers don’t go to their fields because they’re afraid,” Mr. Campbell said. “I’m sure that this has lowered the quality of the mangoes, because it’s harder to control quality.”
Basically, though, it’s telling us that we have a failed state on our southern border.