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New Zealand’s avocado black market moves on to social media

The skyrocketing popularity of the avocado was supposed to be a boon for farmers, but the fruit’s (yep, it’s a fruit) value on the black market has led to a number of unforeseen – and slightly bizarre – consequences.

The latest has been a plot by Kiwi thieves to steal thousands of dollars worth – and flog them on the internet.

The Guardian reports that an avocado crime wave in 2016 led to a police crackdown on the blackmarket. Thieves who have been stealing the fruit under the cover of darkness from a number of New Zealand farms were then forced to sell the fast-spoiling fruits via Facebook.

With individual avocados hitting a peak of $NZ7.50 ($AU7) in supermarkets, agreeing to meet a bloke you found on Facebook to buy a box of avos for around $50 apparently didn’t seem as weird as it clearly sounds.

Police, in an obviously brilliant strategy intended to bring the thieves to their knees, hit back by telling people they probably shouldn’t buy avocados on Facebook.

It wasn’t long ago that millionaire property developer Tim Gurner chided younger generations who complained about not being on the property ladder for spending all their hard earned on smashed avo on toast, rather than putting the money away for a deposit.

All this time we thought that the prohibitively expensive housing market was skewed unfavourably in the direction of baby boomers, but even Gurner was wrong. It turns out that avocado was the smart investment all along!

The idea of selling avocados on social media – and the police response – might seem a tad funny in Australia and New Zealand, but in other countries, the sudden increase in the value of avocados is no laughing matter.

In Mexico, police have been equipped with bulletproof vehicles and assault weapons in a bid to break down the country’s avocado mafia. The surging avocado trade has led to a growth in organised crime, particularly in Michoacan state where there have been over 8,000 murders related to the drug and avocado trade since 2015.

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