The Mexican Cartel’s Economic Expansion Into Avocados and More

According to a News Nation report, Mexican drug cartels, notably the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels, are diversifying their criminal operations beyond narcotics, infiltrating various sectors of the economy and daily life in Mexico and beyond. According to recent government reports and investigations, these cartels have expanded into internet services, fuel theft, and extortion in the avocado, tortilla, and chicken industries.

In Michoacán, authorities discovered that criminal groups were forcing residents to pay for high-cost internet services under threat of death. A raid on three properties uncovered antennas and internet repeater equipment, illustrating the cartels’ extensive reach, they reported, adding:

Fuel theft, or “huachicoleo,” remains highly lucrative, causing billions in losses during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration. Cartels bribe employees of the state-owned oil company Pemex and use modified tanker trucks to steal fuel, according to investigations.

Mexico’s avocado industry, the largest in the world, has become a prime target. Cartels in Michoacán demand monthly protection fees from $135 to $500 per hectare, leading to temporary suspensions of U.S. avocado imports in 2022 and 2024 due to death threats received by U.S. officials.

Tortilla businesses are also under siege, with 14-15% of tortillerías facing extortion. According to the National Tortilla Council, weekly fees range from $135 to $190, according to the report.

In the chicken industry, cartels like La Familia Michoacana force vendors to buy poultry at inflated prices, and some seized chicken has been found to contain harmful additives.

Despite their diversification, drug trafficking remains the cartels’ most profitable venture, though it yields slower returns compared to their other criminal activities.


Ben Bergquam's Updates

Sign up today to get updates from Ben from Frontline America and Real America's Voice. Ben writes every email personally. Don't miss out!

This will close in 0 seconds