- As the February 12 Super Bowl nears, shipments of Mexican avocados are getting police protection.
- The fatty fruits were falling prey to cartels robbing truck drivers on their way to shipping plants.
- As avocados sell for $2.50 a piece in America, a truckload may carry $80,000 to $100,000’s worth.
While millions of Americans prepare for the Super Bowl 2023, some guests get a police escort: Mexican avocados.
These avocados, bound to be game-day guacamole on February 12, make a treacherous journey before they arrive at your grocery store. After they’ve been picked in the orchards of Santa Ana, truck drivers like Jesús Quintero take their cargo to shipping plants in Uruapan some 40 miles away. Along the journey, drivers face threats from drug cartels, extortion gangs, and common criminals, the Associated Press reported.
As a result, Quintero and other drivers get a police escort to protect their valuable, fatty fruits, which sell for up to $2.50 a piece in America. A single crate in Quintero’s truck may hold $100-worth of avocados; a full truckload may be worth $80,000 to $100,000, the AP reported.
“It is more peaceful now with the patrol trucks accompanying us, because this is a very dangerous area,” Quintero told the AP. “They have stolen one or two, one every week, but it’s not daily like it used to be.”
Quintero said robbers have not only stolen the valuable fruits, but also the trucks that drive them.
“They would take away our trucks and the fruit, sometimes they’d take the truck as well,” Quintero told the AP. “They would steal two or three trucks per day in this area.”
One time, Quintero was driving when “two young guys came out and they took our truck and tied us up.”
The thefts also impacted the producers, who make contracts with packing and shipping plants to send a certain quantity of avocados. If those avocados don’t make it to their destination, they may lose the customer, the AP reported.
“The main people affected are the producers,” avocado grower José Evaristo Valencia told the AP. “People were losing three or four trucks every day.”
The robberies have “gone down a lot” since police began escorting the trucks, Quintero said.
The police escort about 40 trucks per day, helping some 300 tons of avocados reach their destination on a daily basis, state police officer Jorge González told the Associated Press.
“These operations have managed to cut the (robbery) rate by about 90 to 95 percent,” González said. “We accompany them to the packing house, so they can enter with their trucks with no problem.”