The gruesome display of 19 bodies scattered in Mexico may be linked to a vicious war, not over drugs but avocados, according to a report.
Mexican police on Thursday discovered nine bodies hanging from a bridge, seven more slaughtered and another three dumped in what authorities say was a gang-turf massacre in the western state of Michoacán.
Falko Ernst, an International Crisis Group researcher who studies cartels, said the fight over the region’s billion-dollar avocado industry was likely the largest factor in the bloodbath.
Around 80 percent of the avocados imported into the US come from Michoacán, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
“The big magnet here is avocados,” Ernst told the Guardian.
The lucrative industry has made the area a battleground for criminal gangs with as many as four avocado transport trucks stolen each day, the Guardian reported in June.
“There are at least 20 illegal armed groups violently competing for territories and markets in the state. Yet not a single actor has been able to establish dominion over the others,” Ernst said. “The avocado sector, a billion-dollar industry, after all, is too attractive [for armed groups] to pass up on, and producers and exporters are bearing some of the cost.”
Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope said the grisly slayings were also intended to send a message to authorities.
“This kind of public, theatrical violence, where you don’t just kill, but you brag about killing, is meant to intimidate rivals and send a message to the authorities,” Hope said.
With Post wires