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Green Gold: Avocado Delivery Gets Mexican Police Escort

With Mexico's prized cash crop increasingly targeted by criminal networks, local police have begun to provide protection for those delivering them to wholesalers and markets. Prices have risen more than 200% in the past two months.

Green Gold: Avocado Delivery Gets Mexican Police Escort

Avocados piling up

URUAPAN — Avocados have become one of the world's most prized cash crops. The market is booming in particular for producers and distributors across certain regions of Mexico, its country of origin that still accounts for more than 30% of global production. But the agricultural source of pride and wealth for Mexicans has also begun to entice its ever hungry criminals looking to dip into the action.

Police this week in the western state of Michoacán were forced to provide armed escort for a caravan of 14 lorries taking avocados from Santa Ana Zirosto to La Quinta in the district of Uruapan, a drive of a little under an hour. This was to "assure their arrival without any hitches," the Heraldo de México daily reported, citing he Michoacán police authority.

Prices skyrocketing

It was not the first time producers had warranted police protection, the newspaper reported, as rising incidents of robbery and violence targeting supply of the fruit qualified in the region as "green gold."

Earlier this month, the country's ruling party MORENA declared in the Senate that price hikes in limes and avocados were in part for the extortions to which producers were subject, particularly in Guerrero and Michoacán, two adjacent states particularly prone to criminal activity. Senator Ricardo Velásquez told the legislative chamber that in cases criminals imposed produce prices and that typically, growers were forced to pay sums of between 500 and 2,000 pesos ($24 to $98) at all stages of production.

The country's statistics office, Inegi, found avocado prices to have risen 230% between December and January. Last June, some 3,000 avocado farmers armed themselves in Michoacán in response to rising incidents of extortion and criminal intimidation.

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Big Brother For The People: India's CCTV Strategy For Cracking Down On Police Abuse

"There is nothing fashionable about installing so many cameras in and outside one’s house," says a lawyer from a Muslim community. And yet, doing this has helped members of the community prove unfair police action against them.

A woman is walking in the distance while a person holds a military-style gun close up

Survellance and tight security at the Lal Chowk area in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India on October 4, 2022

Sukanya Shantha

MUMBAI — When sleuths of the National Investigating Agency suddenly descended on human rights defender and school teacher Abdul Wahid Shaikh’s house on October 11, he knew exactly what he needed to do next.

He had been monitoring the three CCTVs that are installed on the front and the rear of his house — a chawl in Vikhroli, a densely populated area in suburban Mumbai. The cameras told him that a group of men and women — some dressed in Mumbai police’s uniform and a few in civil clothes — had converged outside his house. Some of them were armed and few others with batons were aggressively banging at the door asking him to immediately let them in.

This was not the first time that the police had landed at his place at 5 am.

When the policemen discovered the CCTV cameras outside his house, they began hitting it with their batons, destroying one of them mounted right over the door. This action was captured by the adjacent CCTV camera. Shaikh, holed up in his house with his wife and two children, kept pleading with the police to stop destroying his property and simply show them an official notice.

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