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Drug cartel actions in Mexico force local grocers to increase lime prices

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 22 2014 09:10:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 23 2014 05:32:58 AM CDT

If you're in the market for limes, you may have a tough time finding some, especially at a good price.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

If you're in the market for limes, you may have a tough time finding some, especially at a good price.

Gus Elias with Elias Farmers Market in Allentown says they're definitely feeling the pinch.

“We're just going to wait 'til it comes down. We're only buying a box at a time now because it's too expensive,” he said.

In the past, Elias says they would charge customers 10 limes for $1; now it's two for $1.

According to the US. Department of Agriculture, a bad season in Mexico, where close to 90 percent of U.S. limes come from, caused a shortage.

As a result, federal officials say the drug cartels are now using limes to their advantage by stealing crops and hijacking delivery trucks, spiking prices here at home.

“It used to cost us $15 dollars a case, depending on the season. Now it's costing $100 a case,” said Elias.

Adding to the shortage, this week Elias Market didn't get any limes due to the Easter holiday.

“I don't have any today, nothing today. This week they didn't come in. There's crop down in Mexico right now but there's no one to pick it because they're all on vacation from the holiday,” he said.

Regardless of what's causing the spike, Elias says he's sure prices will eventually go back down.

In the meantime, he says they're trying their best to keep prices reasonable for customers.