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.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 NOV 2022

The Venezuelan government has placed and rogue mining gangs in its crosshairs, as the military is deployed in Bolívar.

ELITES AND CRIME / 14 JUN 2022

Dario Messer, one of the most audacious money launderers in Latin American history, is facing jail time in Brazil but…

AUC / 26 JUN 2022

The former paramilitary commander and drug lord, alias “Memo Fantasma,” may walk out of prison in Colombia on June 28.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…