Hass Avocado – the new Black Market Product

Hass Avocado – the new Black Market Product


$300,000 Avocado Theft – Ventura, California

In a rather bizarre theft case, three men in Ventura, CA were arrested for stealing $300,000 worth of avocado, and no they were not stealing to make a huge batch of guac.

Avocado oddly enough can be purchased on the black market these days.


As it turns out Carlos Chavez, 28, Rahim Leblanc, 30 and Joseph Valenzuela, 38 who were arrested on Wednesday were stealing the avocado to make a little extra cash.

Apparently in California avocado is a pretty big product according to Sgt John Franchi who is with the Ventura county Sheriff’s Department.   

Sometime in late May, sheriff’s detectives decided to launch an investigation into allegations the men were receiving cash for the stolen avocados, said Sgt Franchi.

Odd right? Not so much, here’s why the trio decided rather than sell drugs to make money off of avocado. Which I guess sell just as well as any street drug.

Typically, a box of avocados which are grown in California, Mexico, New Zealand and Chile sells for $50, and in this case, the men were selling a box for $20 to $30 which is far below market value.

They of course had a little help from the employer they were working for unbeknownst, to the employer naturally. As it turns out they had been working at Mission Produce in Oxnard, roughly 60 miles outside of Los Angeles.

According to the latest and greatest by the Hass Avocado Board, the average sales price for an avocado was 89 cents each in January of this year and by March 19, the latest week of data reported, it had risen to $1.25 each, while avocados at Whole Foods in New York now sell for $2.50 each.

And by those numbers, one has to wonder it’s difficult to tell, who the real thieves really are?

Cristal M Clark

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