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Drug cartels move in on Mexican limes

Catherine Stewart

Catherine Stewart

April 28, 2014


Mexico’s drug cartels have a new and surprising target – LIMES. A combination of seasonal heavy rain and the proliferation of a damaging citrus bacteria has seen the price of a case of limes in the USA increase from $30 to $200USD, partly from cartel price gouging.

Backyard_limesReports are that the Mexican Knights Templar drug cartel in Michoacan which produces 95% of the USA’s lime imports, is looting lime orchards, hijacking delivery trucks and attempting to extort protection money from citrus growers.

And to make matters worse, the limes coming through are tiny – barely the size of a ping pong ball, and very low in juice as well.

So New Yorkers may have to get used to lemon margaritas, or bring their own limes with them to the bar.

Many stores and bars that use limes are boycotting the Mexican cartel-supplied limes, in the hope of starving it out of the lime extortion business.

Suppliers of lime trees across the USA also report a huge surge in interest and orders and anyone with a good stash of limes – or frozen lime juice – can get ready to make a killing. Although I hope not literally.

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9 years ago

I love that, how about importing some of ours?

helen mckerral
helen mckerral
9 years ago

Fascinating, Catherine. I think you wrote previously about that disastrous citrus bacteria – devastating for the growers. I didn’t realise that Mexico was free of the disease!