No Coke, No Pepsi: Bottlers leave Mexican city hit by crime

Diet Pepsi Aspartame_122990

FILE – This Oct. 10, 2011 file photo, shows a can of Diet Pepsi, center, and other Pepsi varieties, posed for a photo in Philadelphia. The artificial sweetener in Diet Pepsi is about to change from aspartame to sucralose, but fans of the old formula may still be able to get it. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, […]

Mexicans are among the biggest soda drinkers in the world, so residents of the southern city of Ciudad Altamirano were worried when first Coca-Cola then Pepsi closed their distribution centers amid drug gang extortion demands.

Guerrero state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez said Wednesday that while Pepsi hasn’t explained why its distributor in the steamy city closed over the weekend, authorities are “not ruling out that criminal groups have been pressuring (the company) to extort money from them.”

That was largely the reason why a Coca-Cola plant there closed in March.

In the absence of Coke and Pepsi, a Ciudad Altamirano resident said the local drug gang is allowing two trucking companies to bring in soda from nearby cities at 50 percent higher prices.

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