Economics: Organized Crime Targeting California Nut Industry?

Photo: Pauline Mak/Flickr

Some very organized thieves have been targeting California nut growers

Among the most recent hits was at an Escalon farm where the bandits made off with over 140 thousand pounds of walnuts, which have an estimated value of 400 thousand dollars.

“Right now, everybody wants to be a nut grower because it’s kind of like the gold rush of the 1850s…”Everybody wants the gold.”

Mother Nature Network reports:

Thieves are stealing California walnuts by the truckload

Have you noticed the high price of walnuts and other nuts lately? You’re not alone. California walnuts and almonds have seen prices soar by 10 to 15 percent in the past year as worldwide demand, especially from China, has increased, according to a recent report from Food Business News. The price increases have led to higher profits for nut growers, but they have also led to a surprising offshoot: an increase in nut-related crime…
The trend started a few years ago. Back in 2012, two truckloads of walnuts valued at $300,000 were stolen in Northern California. That was just the beginning. In November some thieves took off with 140,000 pounds of walnuts valued at $400,000, a crime that was called “brazen” in a report from the Los Angeles Times. Two men were arrested for that crime a few days ago and have been charged with auto theft and grand theft.
Those big thefts are just the tip of the nut pile. The Associated Press recently looked into this string of nut thefts and came up with a long list of crimes, including hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of almonds and pistachios. The stolen nuts are reportedly destined for the black market or for sale in some of Los Angeles’ farmers markets.

All of this comes in response to a tripling of walnut prices over the past five years, which has inspired seemingly everybody in California to plant nut crops. “Right now, everybody wants to be a nut grower because it’s kind of like the gold rush of the 1850s,” almond farmer Kevin Fondse told the AP. “Everybody wants the gold.”

The Associated Press recently looked into this string of nut thefts and came up with a long list of crimes, including hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of almonds and pistachios. The stolen nuts are reportedly destined for the black market or for sale in some of Los Angeles’ farmers markets.

All of this comes in response to a tripling of walnut prices over the past five years, which has inspired seemingly everybody in California to plant nut crops. “Right now, everybody wants to be a nut grower because it’s kind of like the gold rush of the 1850s,” almond farmer Kevin Fondse told the AP. “Everybody wants the gold.” 

Read more…

Mother Nature Network

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One Comment on “Economics: Organized Crime Targeting California Nut Industry?”

  1. jimnjoy says:

    There are definitely a lot of fruits and nuts in California.


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