Green Gold

May 10, 1927
Santa Ana

Then as now, avocados are expensive and desirable treats, and a produce man will find his business flourishing when his expenses are limited to gasoline for midnight raids on Orange County orchards and bullets for his gun.

But the men of the Avocado Grower’s Association breathe easier tonight after the arrest of Louis Chiuma at his produce stand at 2301 West First Street. Chiuma and his associates are believed to be among the gangs of alligator pear snatchers who have absconded with $50,000 worth of the fruit so far this year. Recently, two men raided the Lindauer Ranch in La Habra and dropped their sacks to engage the night watchman in a gunfight. No one was hit, and the guard reported their truck license to County Sheriffs, which led them to Chiuma.

Back in the suspect’s rooms, sheriffs found a stash of dynamite. But what they couldn’t find was a snitch: the neighborhood clammed up quick, with some souls heard muttering about the Black Hand. That’s right: the Avocado Mafia, and don’t let me hear you tattling, or there’ll be no guacamole on your enchilada tonight or ever!