Mexican cartels infiltrate every aspect of economy and industry, from drugs to avocados: report

Cartels have long been known to dominate the drug trade in Mexico, however as of late kingpins have directed their minions to infiltrate and disrupt industries providing products and services to ordinary consumers. Across the country, the criminal organizations are increasing their presence in sectors of the economy such as agriculture, internet, and fuel. 

While the manufacture, sale, and distribution of illicit drugs continue to be the main source of income for the cartels, especially the major players such as Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation, the expansion has been quite lucrative. Authorities have tried to crack down wherever possible, but in many cases the cartels have developed intricate networks making them difficult to stamp out.

According to NewsNation, one of the industries cartels have successfully infiltrated is fuel. Known in Mexico as "huachicoleo," the practice of stealing fuel has often involved the use of modified tanker trucks and the bribing of employees at the country's national oil company, Pemex. It has been estimated that during former president Andrés Manuel López Obrador's administration, billions of dollars were lost to cartels in the fuel sector alone.

The criminal organizations have also targeted the nation's tortilla and avocado industries, the latter of which is the largest in the world. By demanding exorbitant monthly fees for protection from rival cartels, they have managed to dominate areas of Michoacán, the state where most of the avocados are grown.

In the same region of the country, cartels have gone after residents' internet services, demanding they switch to their higher-price alternative or risk being killed. Authorities have conducted numerous raids on properties from which the groups have run that particular operation.

While the expansion into the aforementioned sectors has primarily impacted locals, the effects have been felt in the United States. Earlier this year and in 2022, the US temporarily banned avocado imports from Mexico after cartels threatened American officials.

Image: Title: Cartels