The insatiable appetite of Chinese consumers for endangered and threatened species has now found suppliers in organized crime. The combination of the Chinese black market and organized crime is magnifying the impact on the environment. A new such alliance has been uncovered this week in Mexico where cartels are now turning to smuggling not cocaine but animal parts. The latest example can from the Sonoran town of El Golfo de Santa Clara where Mexican mobsters were found smuggling $1 million of fish bladders from the totoaba fish.
The Chinese-Mexican connection was discovered in the course of an investigation into the murder of Samuel Gallardo Castro, alias “El Samy.” El Samy was allegedly killed over an unpaid debt related to the shipment of totoaba gladders.
The totoaba’s large swim bladder controls the fish’s buoyancy and is considered a delicacy in China like so many other parts from rare or endangered species. A soup with the bladder can fetch as much as $25,000 a bowl. That translates on the black market to between $7,000 to $14,000 a bladder. That beats cocaine. The problem (at least for people other than these Chinese consumers) is that totoaba is endangered. The magnificent fish can go to seven feet in length and weigh 200 pounds and live for around 25 years. However, they are disappearing into the soup bowls of Chinese consumers.
Source: Latino Fox