Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, June 29, 2018

Guerrero: Price of Poppy Paste Plummets

Posted by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: MND
June 29, 2018
Thirty years ago, a kilogram of opium paste sold for as much as 80,000 pesos in the mountains of the southern state of Guerrero, remembers a long-term resident.

But today, says Arturo López, who lives in the municipality of Leonardo Bravo, a kilo of the same product fetches just 5,000 pesos (US $250) or 16 times less.

The drastic price slump — exacerbated recently by a reduction in demand for opium paste due to its substitution in heroin production with the synthetic opioid fentanyl — has had a devastating impact on the sierra region, which is located in the geographical center of the state.

“Thirty years ago, a kilo of opium paste was bought for 50,000 or 80,000 pesos. The farmers handed it over to the narcos, who paid very well . . . They took care of transporting it to the clandestine laboratories and distributing it,” he explained.

“I’ve been living in this place uninterruptedly for 35 years and 90% of the people here grow poppies, there’s no reason to fool ourselves,” López told the newspaper Milenio.

However, the much lower price that campesinos are now paid for their illicit crop has “sunk the sierra into many problems,” “especially because we can’t grow anything else and if we did, we wouldn’t even earn 5,000 pesos per kilo.”

Guerrero security spokesman Roberto Álvarez Heredia recognizes that violence in the region has increased in recent years.

“We understand that there are two criminal groups fighting among themselves, one that operates in Chichihualco and the other in Tlacotepec . . . They’re involved in a violent battle that is causing a spike in violent homicides,” he told Milenio.

Álvarez explained that cartels that ship heroin to the United States previously used only opium as the raw material in the drug’s production, but now they have largely substituted that product with fentanyl, which he said is “cheaper and three times more potent.”

As a result, drug cartels are buying much less opium paste from growers in Guerrero.

Because criminal organizations based in the north of the country — where fentanyl is produced — have cut into local cartels’ profit margins, Álvarez explained, the latter “started to diversify their activities.”

Those groups — including the organization controlled by Juan Castillo "El Teniente" as well as others such as Los Rojos, Los Ardillos and the Sierra Cartel — have turned to “extortion, kidnapping, robbery [and] homicides,” the security spokesman said.

However, “above all, they’re relentlessly pursing the farmers so that they abandon their homes, give up their land and cede control,” Álvarez added.  The tactic appears to be working.

Earlier this month, around 90 families who lived in the Leonardo Bravo community of Corralitos fled their homes because of the violence that is plaguing the region.

On Tuesday of this week, the mayor of the neighboring municipality of Eduardo Neri was the target of an attack by armed men. Although he was uninjured, a woman and child were killed in the incident.

In those two municipalities as well as in Heliodoro Castillo and Zumpango, residents have been cultivating opium poppies for 50 years.

However, it has only been in more recent times that violence has become so bad that some residents have felt that they have no option but to leave.

Arturo López’s daughter is among those who left the sierra region but unlike many others, she has returned.

After finishing high school in Chichihualco — the municipal seat of Leonardo Bravo — Yuritzia López moved to the state capital Chilpancingo to study medicine and after years of hard work she qualified as a doctor.

But while Yuritzia was away from her home town to study and work, her father and other residents of the community of Filo de Caballos received so many threats from organized crime that she decided to abandon her medical career. She decided to enter politics with the hope of restoring peace to the region.

At state elections that will coincide with the presidential election on Sunday, Yiritzia López is aiming to become a congresswoman for the state’s 19th electoral district, representing the right-left For Mexico in Front coalition.

At the end of last month, the candidate released a campaign video that was partially filmed in a location that she knows only too well: a field filled with opium poppies in bloom.

But instead of railing against the plant and the damage that drugs can cause to people’s lives as many might have expected she would do, López instead proposed the legalization of the plant’s cultivation for use in the manufacture of legal pharmaceuticals.

She told Milenio that “we could be making what Mexico is consuming and in that way, we would save a lot of money.”

Speaking again while surrounded by opium poppies, López said that taxes collected via the sale of the pharmaceuticals could be used for infrastructure and security initiatives in the municipalities where the poppies are grown.

Yiritzia López, a congressional candidate in the State of Guerrero proposes legalizing poppy production and taxing it for legitimate medicinal use.  Vincente Fox has proposed the same.

She added that legalizing opium poppy cultivation for medicinal purposes would avoid farmers being imprisoned for what essentially is their only means of survival.

Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo has previously said that legalizing cultivation would solve the region’s violence problem although that view is not shared by everyone.

“. . . I don’t think that legalization would definitively end the violence problem.....,” said Crescencio Pacheco, a farmer and self-defense group leader in Leonardo Bravo;  newly reformed in Leonardo Bravo.

Whether opium poppy cultivation is legal or not, the violence will continue, he said, because it’s not opium paste that the criminal gangs are fighting over anymore but rather the control of territory in which to carry out extortion and robberies.


  1. este vato que se llama el teniente, era pistolero de uno que se llamaba jose alias la calentura( lla muerto), se dice que son puros lacras, secuestradores y hasta violadores.

    1. Aqui en BB, somos todos pistoleros!!! :-)

    2. le dicen el teniente herrada.

  2. Its fentanyl and also opium from Chihuahua and Sinaloa is better quality so Guerrero is just SOL.

    1. The best opium or Mexican black tar is best from the golden triangle the Cochos just make more quantity

    2. Lmao,you obviously talk out your neck.quit talking unless you really know.your Sinaloa es cuna de dedos!from your mascot (chapo)to the boss,(Mayo)you all try and help yourselves to a jail reduction.pero que viva to Sinaloa culito mio.

    3. You sinaloa pendejos are annoying always thinking your better than the rest of the Mexicans. How do you know it's better quality? Stop talking out your nalgas like always!

    4. Sinaloan producers are more independent and have more government respect, southern guerrero is more politician inspired and we know politicians turn everything into SHIT as soon as they get their little fat fingers involved, also the private owned projects on Indian Farmer owned lands is real important, the Indians don't even get the mine shaft there because they are indians, no shares and no shit!

  3. The Mexican Peso reached an all time high of 21.92 in January of 2017 and a record low of 0.01 in May of 1972. The cartels set the kg price, 30 yrs ago were the pre IPO days. Why not pay a tiny bit more, now that things get tight bribes are heavy on the budget, guns cost moneys, tunnels cost millions- the cartels need to reduce expenses Bingo! We save 90% off the top by cutting what we pay growers besides we control that valley so take 10% and keep farming or disappear & well get some meth head to farm the field under penalty of death.

  4. grams of black tar are going for $35 in texas and $20 for a half gram...a lot of dealers are going out of business cuz a point of fent gets you higher then a gram of black tar

  5. When it comes to purity without cut (fet) or how they sat in Sinaloa. Guerrero product is better. Sinaloa/Chihuahua/Durango/Nayarit China white or regular tar likely has cut. Hits harder fast with vulnerability to users as for Guerrero work last longer but does not hit as hard, with risk of killing people. I am not bias, I am not from Guerrero. Wife from Sinaloa and I was born in Chihuas.

    1. They all cut it with fen tonto, it's the same shit

    2. The hard part is making the pop fields invisible, while the state is flooded with melitary, federal and state police, they can't ever see no fucking poppy fields, because their being Mexican plays no part, the US can't locate anybody's poppy fields in Afghanistan either, they are said to produce 90% of the world's heroin, but must be sticking it up their arses because of the meth and fentanyl family competition around do the world, subsidized by the masters themselves, the chinese...

  6. She's a smart woman, and i agree with her hundred percent. This is a great article Yaqui, and i hope people take the time to read it.

    1. 4:49 legalizing it got the Chinese fucked up for hundreds of years, if they need it so much they could make private farms dedicated to their medicine and not allow anybody in, and supply addicts for free.

  7. 250$ per key???? Is this garbage tar?? And what does that do for us prices?

  8. Good argument against the legalization crowd: gangs turned to extortion, kidnapping, and theft when their cash crop slumped. How about growing what your ancestors did to feed themselves? Beans,corn,squash- at least you can feed the family.

  9. This is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket so to speak. You should always have a backup plan. In the USA it is unemployment or welfare until you find something else. Now they may convert to other types of crime.

    1. 6:23 the US imposed their side of NAFTA to leave the Mexicans bound to buy US agri-products and make Mexico a buyer of theirs,
      Now that is about to change thanks to the crazy guy in the throne and people are having more complicated problems.
      --"Criminals in Welfare" on the US have never been more expensive than some presidents and their ministers and their greedy government contractors always up for a buck...

  10. The proposal by this candidate seems to bear a rational point of view for consideration. Pharmaceutical purposes for legalizing the cultivation by farmers would benefit both parties (parmacutical and growers). A win win for those in desperate times. Moreover,if taxes were to be used to assist in the infrastructure of their communities.

    However, I do not find this implementation to curb any violence. As noted here by narrator, these criminals have reverted to other means for survival (Kidnapping, extortion ect).

    The question remains as to the seriousness for any consideration by those government officials? Can this be a resolution to curb the violence in Mexico?

    Probably one of the most sensible solutions other than legalizing drugs in America. Definitely better than the idiotic one for amnesty by the narcos politician AMLO.


  11. Can i go there buy a few kilos of raw opium and spent my old age on retirement in some ranch? Better than all tbe pharmaceutical crap wasting,400 dollars for pain management. .

  12. I would like to try smoking raw opium. Wish it was available here.

    1. 7:08 congratulations, me too!
      I'm hopeless with dope but I have never tried anything.
      I don't want to become un pinche drogadicto más...


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