In English the word “avocado” refers to a fleshy fruit, native to Mexico. In Spanish an abogado is a lawyer. That is apt. The avocado has found itself flirting with the law on numerous occasions in recent months. What is the link between avocados and crime?

Since the late 1990s appetite for avocados has steadily increased. In 2013 global production reached 4.7m metric tonnes—up 100% from 1998. A few factors explain the boom. Clever marketing has drawn consumers to the fruit for its high nutritional content (it is full of the sort of “good” fats lauded by dieticians) and health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease. Moreover, it is also the main component in guacamole, a dip that has benefited from the rising popularity of Mexican fast food, such as tacos. As a result traditional markets have expanded while new ones have emerged: avocado exports to China quadrupled in the five years from 2008.

Some now fear there may not be enough to go round. Earlier this year bad weather in New Zealand and Australia brought harvesting to a halt. Bush fires destroyed orchards while heavy rainfall delayed picking of the fruit. (Wet weather increases the risk of a fungal disease that leads to rot.) In June prices in New Zealand hit NZ$4.61 ($3.25) per avocado, the highest since records began in 1966. Some have since decided to take the law into their own hands, pilfering large quantities of the fruit from avocado orchards and selling them on the black market. Australian producers have been similarly affected. In Mexico, the crime is of an altogether different sort. The country is by far the biggest exporter the fruit—and plans to stay that way. Growers there (or at least the cartels that control them) have taken to cutting down forests illegally to make way for more extensive farming. In Costa Rica, a ban on imports of Hass, a kind of avocado, has led to small-scale smuggling of the fruit across the border from Panama.

An abundant harvest should rectify most of the dodgy dealings reported in Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, avocado prices in New Zealand fell 50% in July from their record figures from June. For Costa Rica, a change in policy or increase in imports would do the trick. But Mexico’s problems with the criminal underworld are unlikely to disappear as long as the avocado is seen as a lucrative product. Tweets declaring the avocado to be “#overcado” may dampen enthusiasm among trend-obsessed Westerners. But those new to its appeal are unlikely to relinquish the green stuff anytime soon.