GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan authorities have broken up a group that sold the government millions of dollars’ worth of contraband corn and beans, some of it not fit for human consumption, an official said Tuesday.
Attorney General Thelma Aldana said the purchases were made in 2014 after the government made a disaster declaration because of heavy rains in some areas and drought in others threatened the food supply. The government spent $66 million on the grains, and those involved in the scheme allegedly cleared $5 million in profit.
Among those arrested was former agriculture minister Elmer Lopez. Lopez said there was a lot of pressure and blamed former Vice President Roxana Baldetti.
Baldetti, along with President Otto Perez Molina, resigned under a variety of corruption charges in 2015 and she remains in custody.
This story has been corrected to show that both the disaster declaration and grain purchases were in 2014.