HomeNewsBriefTentacles of Organized Crime in Mexico Extend to Octopus Theft
BRIEF

Tentacles of Organized Crime in Mexico Extend to Octopus Theft

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 30 OCT 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

More than a dozen trailers transporting multi-ton shipments of frozen octopus have been reported stolen in Mexico in the last month, illustrating how crime groups are constantly seeking new revenue streams, even in seemingly unlikely places.

Since a devastating earthquake rocked Mexico City on September 19, 14 trailers carrying multi-ton frozen octopus shipments have been robbed on federal highways leading from the Caribbean state of Yucatán to other parts of the country, El Diario de Yucatán reported

According to the local publication, each trailer carried 25 tons of octopus, an amount worth some $3 million. It's estimated that the total losses accumulated from the robberies have now totaled more than $40 million.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles 

In the last two years, according to El Diario de Yucatán, only one or two robberies of frozen octopus shipments have been recorded. 

The recent crime wave has hit octopus producers in Yucatán especially hard. European buyers have historically acquired large quantities of octopus from the local fishing community. Indeed, according to El Diario de Yucatán, 2,000 tons of octopus have already been shipped this year. 

However, thus far just one of the stolen shipments was recovered in an operation that saw three alleged thieves arrested by federal police in the central state of Puebla. 

State and federal authorities in Mexico have been notified of the robberies, and the local fishing community has requested protection for future shipments as well as a thorough investigation of the thefts.

InSight Crime Analysis 

Criminal organizations in Mexico are constantly diversifying their criminal activities, and the recent wave of octopus robberies suggests they may be capitalizing on yet another new opportunity in an already vast sea of illicit enterprises.

Prior to recent reports of Mexican crime groups stealing shipments of cephalopods, there have been other indications of fishy activities in the country's underworld. Since 2000, for example, authorities have seized some $15 million worth of contraband air bladders illegally harvested from a protected species known as the totoaba fish.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Eco Trafficking

The totoaba bladders are often trafficked and sold in Asia, where they are highly sought-after. However, it remains unclear where the stolen octopus is going. Unloading the estimated 350 tons of mollusks that have been stolen in the last several weeks would necessitate not only a huge black market demand for the product, but also a highly sophisticated infrastructure capable of supplying it.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HEROIN / 19 SEP 2016

The governor of Mexico's Guerrero state is again calling for the legalization of opium poppy, the plant from which heroin…

BRAZIL / 5 SEP 2017

A video of what appears to be a series of extrajudicial killings by a Mexican police officer in the border…

GULF CARTEL / 18 JAN 2017

A recent wave of violence in Mexico's most important tourism corridor has sparked fears about new conflicts between drug cartels…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.