Customs agents fraud ring busted in Guatemala

The 15 suspects arrested used falsified documents to retrieve goods from the southern port of Quetzal, depriving the government of $570,000 in duties

Guatemala busted a ring of at least 15 customs agents, port workers and transport company workers on Friday accused of using falsified documents to avoid paying customs duties.

The revelation by prosecutors came two years after the previous government fell when it was discovered senior officials took bribes to allow businessmen to escape import taxes.

The president and vice president from that administration, Otto Perez and Roxana Baldetti, are in jail pending possible trial.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said the 15 suspects arrested Friday used falsified documents to retrieve goods from the southern port of Quetzal, depriving the government of $570,000 in duties.

The investigation started in December after a tip-off about a container being removed from the port without respecting rules, the spokeswoman, Yecenia Enriquez, told reporters.