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Sonora among 10 states where ‘chocolate cars’ will be legalized

Sonora is one of 10 Mexican states where owners of illegally imported foreign cars will now be able to bring those vehicles into compliance for a small fee.

On Wednesday, Mexico published an official decree establishing a process for so-called  carros chocolates, or chocolate cars, to be legalized in 10 northern states, including Sonora.

From now until July 20, illegally imported cars can be regularized for a $120 fee. The vehicles must comply with environmental standards, be at least eight years old and cannot be associated with a crime. Luxury and sports cars don’t qualify.

Officials say there are about 2 million chocolate cars in Mexico. Mostly in northern states, where used cars are frequently brought across the border without going through the formal importation process.

The process has also been presented as a safety measure because chocolate cars are hard to trace, and officials say they are often used in crimes.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.