World

Guatemala ring leader ordered held in protective isolation amid fears for his life

Juan Carlos Monzon, the personal secretary of former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, appears before a court hearing after he turned himself into authorities in Guatemala City, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Monzon is accused by authorities of being the head of a corruption ring, known as "La Linea," in which businesses allegedly paid kickbacks to government officials in exchange for lower import duties. It is believed that the scheme bilked the government of millions of dollars. The corruption scandal has rocked the Guatemalan government and so far has caused former President Otto Perez Molina and Baldetti to resign. Both are jailed and are facing charges for allegedly receiving the illegal payments. Prosecutors and an international commission have said Perez Molina and Baldetti were fully aware of the scheme and received half of the kickbacks paid. (AP Photo/Luis Soto)

Juan Carlos Monzon, the personal secretary of former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, appears before a court hearing after he turned himself into authorities in Guatemala City, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Monzon is accused by authorities of being the head of a corruption ring, known as "La Linea," in which businesses allegedly paid kickbacks to government officials in exchange for lower import duties. It is believed that the scheme bilked the government of millions of dollars. The corruption scandal has rocked the Guatemalan government and so far has caused former President Otto Perez Molina and Baldetti to resign. Both are jailed and are facing charges for allegedly receiving the illegal payments. Prosecutors and an international commission have said Perez Molina and Baldetti were fully aware of the scheme and received half of the kickbacks paid. (AP Photo/Luis Soto)  (The Associated Press)

A judge in Guatemala has ordered the alleged leader of a customs corruption scandal to be held in protective isolation at a maximum security prison amid fears for his life.

Juan Carlos Monzon Rojas appeared in court Tuesday wearing a bullet-proof vest and a military helmet.

Monzon Rojas has said former President Otto Perez Molina and former Vice-President Roxana Baldetti directed the corruption scheme.

Monzon Rojas was Baldetti's former personal secretary, and turned himself in Sunday.

He says he was just following orders in the scheme, in which businesses allegedly paid kickbacks to officials in exchange for lower import duties.

Monzon Rojas faces charges of customs fraud, bribery and criminal organization. He said he feared for his safety and asked the court for security.