Opium prices plummet, narcos turn to mining and farmers left in poverty: bishop (Mexico News Daily – December 28, 2018)

Mexico News Daily

Turf wars have intensified as gangs fight over mines and sawmills, says Guerrero bishop

Drug trafficking gangs in Guerrero are turning their attention to mining as opium gum prices plummet, violence increases and the opioid known as “china white” floods into Mexico, a local bishop says.

Salvador Rangel, bishop of the diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, told reporters this week that cultivating opium poppies is no longer profitable due to the low prices their paste yields. So they are turning their attention to mines and sawmills.

Turf wars between competing criminal gangs have intensified, Rangel said, as they attempt to seize control of gold and silver mines and lumber mills. The bishop conceded that the Christmas truce he attempted to broker was unsuccessful.

“As long as drugs, in particular opium gum that is extracted from poppies, doesn’t provide a good profit, the problems will continue,” Rangel said.

“The price fell completely. Three years ago, [opium gum] cost 35,000 or 40,000 pesos [US $1,800 to $2,000] a kilo and now they’re paying 3,500 or 4,000 pesos [US $180 to $200]. The people in the Sierra with whom I have contact don’t want to plant [poppies] anymore, they say simply that ‘it doesn’t maintain us anymore.’”

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