Mexican families make business from stealing maize

30-03-2010 | |
Mexican families make business from stealing maize

In Mexico maize theft is the latest trend. Trading stolen maize is so lucrative that people even give up their regular job for participating in the grains fraud, daily newspaper Reforma reports.

In the city of Celaya families have specialised in robbing trains that transport maize. “On average every three days a train is robbed”, the newspaper said.
The police chief of Celaya said the raids occur at night and in each incident between 50 and 100 tonnes of maize is stolen. "They transport the maize to warehouses and sell it throughout the region," Escobar said.
Robbing a train is done through a fixed pattern. The train driver is bribed and he stops the train at a negotiated place, they outlet valve under a wagon is opened and the train drives away leaving a trail of hundreds of metres of maize kernels.
This way tonnes of maize gushes out of the trailer over a long distance. Who wants to gather the maize has to pay the thieves 500 to 1,000 peso (€30 to €60).
The trade is very profitable for the bandits. Weekly they earn around 5,000 peso, while a normal job only brings 1,500 peso per week.
Several people in the village have left their regular job to go maize robbing.
One of the bandits denies that the maize is stolen because of hunger or because it has become too expensive. “The grain is stolen because it is good business. You earn good money.”

Dick Ziggers Former editor All About Feed
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