Mexican Cartels Were Ruining Your Margaritas


If you’ve been under a rock and not at a bar (like the rest of us), then you probably missed how hard limes were to find for the last few months. Due to crappy weather and a fungal outbreak, the fruit’s price skyrocketed and farmers were racking in the dough — and it’s the first time in a decade that their money wasn’t controlled by the Mexican drug cartels.

In addition to running marijuana and other narcotics, Mexican cartels like the Knights Templar were also commanding the country’s lime business, according to NPR.

“You’d make the money and they would take it, they charged so-called taxes, quotas on everything,” says Hernandez. The drug gang told farmers where and when they could sell their crops and — most important — at what price. He estimates he paid about $2,000 a week, or 10 percent of his sales, to the Knights Templar.

Who knew guacamole and margaritas were controlled by a criminal syndicate?

But now, thanks to a federales crackdown and the rise of civilian armies, the cartels are busy trying to not to get arrested and don’t have time for lime business. A few top leaders have been murdered or arrested along with three mayors and a former governor of Michoacan who were taken into custody for collaborating with organized crime. Elsewhere, the lime shortage is easing and, though the jacked up prices are falling, farmers like Hernandez get to make and keep their own profits. I’ll drink to that.


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