Pepsi closes distribution center in the state of Guerrero

Due to constant threats and extortion attempts by organized crime groups, Pepsi was forced to shut down its operation in Altamirano, Guerrero
Pepsi closes distribution center in the state of Guerrero
There were rumors of the distribution center being shut down since last Friday, and that even some signs with the company logo had been removed - Photo: Mike Segar/REUTERS
12/06/2018
16:21
Arturo de Dios Palma
Chilpancingo
-A +A

Pepsi has shut down its distribution center in the Tierra Caliente region of Guerrero due to extortion attempts, so-called “operation fees” imposed by drug cartels, and insecurity. Pepsi’s competitor had done the same on March 23 in the same territory and for the same reasons.

The operation shutdown was discreet. According to workers from the Pangarabato municipality, starting last Thursday, the company began collecting refrigerators at sales outlets in the region’s townships and terminating around 70 employees last Monday.

Roberto Álvarez Heredia, spokesman of Guerrero’s Coordinating Group (GCG) has informed that staff from the Ministry of Economy (SE) of Guerrero was present at the facility of the distribution center yesterday morning and found it closed.

Álvarez Heredia commented that there were rumors of the distribution center being shut down since last Friday and that even some signs with the company logo had been removed. The Ministry of Economy has had no direct contact with the company to inquire about the exact reasons for the shutdown. Last night, however, the GEPP bottling group informed of their temporary shutdown in the city of Altamirano, “given that the required conditions for the continual distribution of their products into the market have not been met.”

The Pepsi distribution center had been operating in Tierra Caliente for over 30 years in the city of Altamirano, as well as their competition.

The Coca-Cola company shut down their operations in the region on March 23, which resulted in a sales increase for Pepsi, but it also brought more extortion attempts from criminal groups.

Coca-Cola decided to shut down their distribution center after two attacks occurred in the same week. In one of them, a group of around 20 armed men attempted to break into the facility with Molotov bombs and gunshots fired. The second attack resulted in the injury of one of the employees.

Shortly before the violent attacks, the company had just rebooted their sales to the public after two months of suspending their distribution due to another extortion attempt.

Previously, in 2014, the Coca-Cola company shut down their facility in Arcelia for the same reason: extortion by organized crime groups. The operation shutdown caused 120 employees to lose their jobs.

Last month in Tamaulipas, there was a similar case where the dairy company LALA shut down its distribution center in Mante.

Tierra Caliente is one of the most violent regions in the state of Guerrero, with at least four cartels fighting for the territory: Familia Michoacana (The Michoacana Family), Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), Los Tequileros, and Los Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors), according to official reports.

In addition to their territorial dispute, these groups have used extortion and “operation fees” in a desperate attempt to garner more resources for their criminal operations.

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