Venezuela arrests heads of largest pharmacy chain amid charges of "economic war"

IndustriesAssociated Press

Venezuela has arrested two top executives for Venezuela's largest drugstore chain as part of an investigation into what authorities say are illegal practices contributing to the country's chronic shortages.

The attorney general's office says it detained Farmatodo executive president Pedro Angarita and vice president Agustin Alvarez over the weekend, and formally charged them Wednesday with working to destabilize the country.

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Farmatodo said earlier this week that its actions are transparent and that its 167 stores nationwide have been inspected numerous times in recent months by the government.

President Nicolas Maduro has been blasting owners of major retail chains that he accuses of conspiring with opponents to wage an "economic war" against his socialist government.

Government critics warn that the crackdown on Farmatodo could have dire consequences for the economy.