HomeNewsBriefMexico Criminal Groups Use Violence to Control Meat Industry: Report
BRIEF

Mexico Criminal Groups Use Violence to Control Meat Industry: Report

EXTORTION / 21 APR 2017 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Criminal groups are coercing butchers at a food market in western Mexico to buy meat from them at elevated prices and are killing those who do not comply, a new report finds, illustrating one of the many ways predatory crime hinders economic activity in Latin America. 

Criminal groups supply most of the 60,000 kilos of meat sold every week at a market in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, according to a report by El Universal. The criminal groups buy the meat at 50 Mexican pesos per kilogram and sell it to the market’s butchers for 60 pesos per kilogram, for earnings of 600,000 pesos (roughly $32,000) each week. 

One of the butchers told El Universal that competitors offer lower prices than the criminal groups, but that buying from a competitor carries the risk of violent reprisals. Four butchers were killed in the past year alone, according to El Universal. Two vendors who worked at the market were also killed last year. 

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Most vendors close their shops by 4 p.m., before it gets dark. They would normally stay open until 8 p.m., according to El Universal, but they fear more attacks, and few customers are willing to shop at the market during the evening. 

InSight Crime Analysis

This disruption of the marketplace is common across much of the region. In 2013, Mexico’s then-Secretary of Health, Mercedes Juan López, said crime costs the country up to 15 percent of its annual GDP; in Honduras, that number was estimated to be 10 percent in 2012. The World Bank has identified high levels of violence as one of the major risks to economic growth in the region. 

Of course, organized criminal activity can also spur growth. Several billions of dollars in drug profits are laundered through legitimate businesses in Mexico every year, sparking investment and economic activity. Panama has also benefited economically from lax banking regulations that for years enabled Colombian drug traffickers to stash their illicit profits in secrecy. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extortion

But predatory criminal activity undermines economies, and extortion is chief among them. A business association in El Salvador estimated that an average of two small businesses close per week because of extortion, which the International Crisis Group recently called the “lifeblood” of the country’s street gangs. A 2015 report by Honduran newspaper La Prensa found that Central America’s Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala pay over $660 million every year in extortion fees.

But the use and threat of violence is not a prerequisite for having a damaging effect on the economy. Contraband smuggling is a multi-billion dollar a year industry in countries ranging from Guatemala to Paraguay. And earlier this year, watchdog groups in Brazil said contraband cost the country an astounding $41 billion in lost tax revenue and private sector losses in 2016. 

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

CONTRABAND / 3 NOV 2020

A sizeable seizure of adulterated rum shipped to Honduras from Europe reveals the extent to which black markets for alcohol…

MEXICO / 22 SEP 2016

Local residents say the official account of how two priests were killed in Veracruz, Mexico is a "cover-up" for the…

FEATURED / 16 JAN 2020

It was always going to be a thankless task. When President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in December of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…