The nut business is booming in California. One of the reasons is that new markets in Asia are opening up to the west. Organized crime has taken note and have started to move in on the California nut growers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that California produced $9.3 billion in 2014. Walnuts and pistachios are about half while $5.9 billion just in Almonds. The mafia are hacking into the trucking company’s computers to gain access to shipping information and then hijacking the trucks.
A truck full of nuts can be worth $150,000 to $500,000 each. Last year there were losses totaling $4.6 million. In most cases the theft is not reported for many days as the criminals often pose as real truck drivers with forged papers. By the time the nut company becomes aware of the missing shipment it is to late. The nuts could be in another state or on a boat to Europe or Asia.
The farmers are now working with each other and the FBI to curtail this nut grabbing. Their lost shipments also mean higher prices for consumers.