HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Arrests Fmr Congresswoman Linked to Drug Group
BRIEF

Guatemala Arrests Fmr Congresswoman Linked to Drug Group

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 MAR 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

A former congresswoman in Guatemala was sent to prison to await trial for her alleged involvement in an embezzlement scheme, but these charges may be the tip of the iceberg given previous accusations of high-level corruption and involvement with organized crime lodged against her.

Former Congresswoman Emilenne Mazariegos was arrested and remanded to pretrial detention on charges of criminal association and money laundering, the Attorney General’s Office and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala – CICIG) announced during a March 8 press conference.

Mazariegos, a former congresswoman for the Patriotic Party (Partido Patriota – PP), is one of the 12 individuals arrested for having allegedly embezzled funds from the Chicamán municipality of the Quiché department. Prosecutors say Mazariegos’ partner, mother, uncle and brother-in-law were also part of the dismantled network.

According to the investigation, the Chimacán local government took out two separate loans for a total of 21 million quetzals (roughly $2.8 million) in 2012 to finance public works projects. These funds were transferred to a non-governmental organization called the National Pro-Development Association (Asociación Pro Desarrollo Nacional – APRODEN), whose legal representative was Mazariegos’ mother. APRODEN then wired the funds to a subcontractor construction company.

But the investigation revealed that certain projects were left undone. More than 2.65 million quetzals (around $360,000) from the public funds were distributed among the 12 arrested individuals instead of being invested in the projects, reported Prensa Libre, describing Emilenne Mazariegos as the main beneficiary of the embezzled money.

InSight Crime Analysis

The charges against the criminal network are reminiscent of other cases in Guatemala where politicians have been accused of embezzling local funds by manipulating public work contracts, and in certain instances, using NGOs that subcontracted construction companies to steal the money.

But Mazariegos’ case may hold particular significance due to previous suspicions of her involvement with politicians linked to organized crime.

As Insight Crime chronicled following a field investigation, Mazariegos has been suspected of serving as a go-between for Roxana Baldetti — the former vice president of Guatemala, currently incarcerated for various crimes, including allegedly receiving kickbacks for awarding public contracts — and the Huistas drug trafficking organization.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime

The Huistas are suspected of financing Mazariegos’ successful 2011 campaign in the Huehuetenango department in order to gain an influential contact within Guatemala’s highest political sphere. But the powerful crime group has so far managed to remain under the authorities’ radar.

If the allegations of Mazariegos’ links with the trafficking organization are true, her arrest and potential cooperation with authorities could spell future trouble for the Huistas.

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

GUATEMALA / 8 MAY 2013

Forensic analysis has revealed that the MS-13 gang in Guatemala used 32 guns to allegedly commit 238 murders, offering insight…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 JAN 2019

An uprising of soldiers against the government of Nicolás Maduro has raised questions about corruption inside the armed forces and…

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 SEP 2014

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …