‘Aquatic cocaine’: Fish bladders are latest Mexican smuggling commodity

ivp-lucrative-fishsmuggling-trend-active-in-re-001One hundred twenty-one fish swim bladders lay before Garcia Pereda on the concrete floor, most of them white, some with shades of pink. The smell of fish guts was overwhelming, a stench Garcia Pereda never grew accustomed to, even as he went from bust after bust of the illegal smuggling. This was a huge haul of “aquatic cocaine”: 39 kilos of totoaba fish swim bladders, with a Hong Kong street value of $750,000. Not quite as big as a recent bust, thought Garcia Pereda, where they’d stopped 600 bladders from getting across the U.S.-Mexico border, flowing eventually to China. The fishermen – Jorge Garcia sat on the back of his truck, selling fish filets and shrimp to tourists wandering the boardwalk in San Felipe. He looked out at the water, disgusted that his two boats are not doing what Garcia was raised to do: fish big game like totoaba. “We’re being punished,” he said. “Young fishermen from out of town are coming in, fishing illegally in the water, making tons of money.” Read the story here 11:04

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