In the state of Michoacan, the organized crime group Knights Templar has expanding its reach over its territory and has begun charging people extortion fees.
According to a report by the Associated Press, sawmills owners were being charged nearly $10 (120 Mexican Pesos) for each cubic meter of wood sold. Broken down, the cost of the extortion fee would be around $0.10 for each 2X4 sold.
The Knights Templar also charged avocado farmer $160 (2,000 Pesos) for each hectare of avocado trees.
In both instances listed above, when the owners failed to pay, the Knights Templar set fire to their properties.
The group was also reportedly charging a cattle farmer up to $80 (800 to 1,000 Pesos) in extortion for each head of cattle that was raised in his farm.
The Knights Templar is an off-shoot of the La Familia Drug Cartel.
Source: Associated Press, “Mexico Cartel Dominates, Torches Western State,” NPR, May 22, 2013.