Members of the Venezuelan national guard stand next to boxes full of confiscated toys in a warehouse in Caracas on December 9, 2016. The Venezuelan government seized 3.8 million toys on December 9, 2016 from one of the country
Members of the Venezuelan national guard stand next to boxes full of confiscated toys in a warehouse in Caracas on December 9, 2016. The Venezuelan government seized 3.8 million toys on December 9, 2016 from one of the country's main distributors - which it accuses of hoarding - to sell them at lower prices in poor neighborhoods.
PHOTO: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:49
Millions of toys seized before Christmas
TOPSHOT - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds a national flag during the closing of the campaign to elect a Constituent Assembly that would rewrite the constitution, in Caracas on July 27, 2017 on the second day of a 48-hour general strike called by the opposition.
Venezuela
TOPSHOT - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds a national flag during the closing of the campaign to elect a Constituent Assembly that would rewrite the constitution, in Caracas on July 27, 2017 on the second day of a 48-hour general strike called by the opposition. Venezuela's opposition called for a nationwide protest on Friday in outright defiance of a new government ban on demonstrations ahead of a controversial weekend election. "The regime declared we can't demonstrate... We will respond with the TAKING OF VENEZUELA tomorrow," the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, said Thursday on its Twitter account. / AFP PHOTO / Federico PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:46
US met with Venezuela officers plotting coup
Venezuelan citizens wait in line to cross to Ecuador at the Rumichaca international bridge in Ipiales, Colombia, on August 11, 2018. - The "unusual" increase in the migratory flow of Venezuelans, which reached 4,200 people a day, prompeted Ecuador to declare state of emergency in provinces bordering Peru and Colombia. (Photo by LEONARDO CASTRO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LEONARDO CASTRO/AFP/Getty Images)
Venezuelan citizens wait in line to cross to Ecuador at the Rumichaca international bridge in Ipiales, Colombia, on August 11, 2018. - The "unusual" increase in the migratory flow of Venezuelans, which reached 4,200 people a day, prompeted Ecuador to declare state of emergency in provinces bordering Peru and Colombia. (Photo by LEONARDO CASTRO / AFP) (Photo credit should read LEONARDO CASTRO/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: LEONARDO CASTRO/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:56
Chaos in Venezuela triggers mass exodus
detonaciones desfile militar caracas maduro ruidos brk mirador mundial osmary hernandez_00004223.jpg
detonaciones desfile militar caracas maduro ruidos brk mirador mundial osmary hernandez_00004223.jpg
PHOTO: vtv
Now playing
02:18
Venezuelan President evacuated from stage
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30:  (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the Rose Garden at the White House April 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. The two leaders also met in the Oval Office to discuss a range of bilateral issues earlier in the day.  (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the Rose Garden at the White House April 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. The two leaders also met in the Oval Office to discuss a range of bilateral issues earlier in the day. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
PHOTO: he Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
Now playing
01:59
Trump asked advisers about invading Venezuela
venezuela prison riot joshua holt newton lkl_00004530.jpg
venezuela prison riot joshua holt newton lkl_00004530.jpg
PHOTO: Facebook/Josh Holt
Now playing
02:03
American jailed in Venezuela fears for life
 Carolina Wong and Jorge Salas sit with their daughter, Akira, before they leave Venezuela for Peru.
Carolina Wong and Jorge Salas sit with their daughter, Akira, before they leave Venezuela for Peru.
PHOTO: Khushbu Shah/CNN
Now playing
01:54
Family tearfully leaves Venezuela
Now playing
01:30
Dad remembers son killed in Venezuelan unrest
Demonstrators clash with the police during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on April 19, 2017.
Venezuela braced for rival demonstrations Wednesday for and against President Nicolas Maduro, whose push to tighten his grip on power has triggered waves of deadly unrest that have escalated the country
Demonstrators clash with the police during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on April 19, 2017. Venezuela braced for rival demonstrations Wednesday for and against President Nicolas Maduro, whose push to tighten his grip on power has triggered waves of deadly unrest that have escalated the country's political and economic crisis. / AFP PHOTO / Juan BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:54
Why Venezuelans are protesting
venezuelan flag
venezuelan flag
Now playing
01:19
Venezuela to US: Military action a 'crazy act'
Now playing
01:36
Panetta on Trump: This is not reality TV
PHOTO: Lilian Tintori
Now playing
02:09
Venezuela: Opposition leaders seized
Voters receive instructions by a Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard officer outside a polling station during the election for a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 30, 2017.
Voters receive instructions by a Venezuelan Bolivarian National Guard officer outside a polling station during the election for a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, July 30, 2017.
PHOTO: Ariana Cubillos/AP
Now playing
00:56
Venezuelan candidate shot dead before election
Anti-government activists set up a barricade during protests of the election for a Constituent Assembly in Caracas on July 30, 2017. Deadly violence erupted around the controversial vote, with a candidate to the all-powerful body being elected shot dead and troops firing weapons to clear protesters in Caracas and elsewhere.
Anti-government activists set up a barricade during protests of the election for a Constituent Assembly in Caracas on July 30, 2017. Deadly violence erupted around the controversial vote, with a candidate to the all-powerful body being elected shot dead and troops firing weapons to clear protesters in Caracas and elsewhere.
PHOTO: RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:27
Violent protests over Venezuelan election
Masked opposition demonstrators take part in clashes with riot police ensuing an anti-government protest in Caracas, on July 26, 2017.
Venezuelans blocked off deserted streets Wednesday as a 48-hour opposition-led general strike aimed at thwarting embattled President Nicolas Maduro
Masked opposition demonstrators take part in clashes with riot police ensuing an anti-government protest in Caracas, on July 26, 2017. Venezuelans blocked off deserted streets Wednesday as a 48-hour opposition-led general strike aimed at thwarting embattled President Nicolas Maduro's controversial plans to rewrite the country's constitution got underway. / AFP PHOTO / FEDERICO PARRA (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:49
Why Venezuela is in crisis
Venezuela caught in chaos newton dnt_00000000.jpg
Venezuela caught in chaos newton dnt_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:46
Caught in the chaos in Venezuela

Story highlights

The government says the company planned to sell them at inflated prices

Critics call it a "Grinch" move two weeks before Christmas

(CNN) —  

Venezuelan officials have confiscated nearly 4 million toys from a toy distributor, accusing the company of planning to sell them at inflated prices during the Christmas season.

On Saturday, the government initially said it had confiscated 4.8 million toys. It revised the figure Sunday, putting it at 3.821 million.

Critics say the consumer protection agency, which targeted the toy warehouse this week, has become “the Grinch that stole Christmas” because many families won’t be able to buy the confiscated toys for the holiday.

Agency head William Contreras disputed that, saying executives at toy distributor Kreisel-Venezuela, the largest of its kind in the country, “don’t care about our children’s right to have a merry Christmas.”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is being called a Grinch after the government confiscated millions of toys over alleged price gouging.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is being called a Grinch after the government confiscated millions of toys over alleged price gouging.
PHOTO: Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

He told reporters, “They say we’re stealing the toys from this company, but the company committed fraud against our country.”

The government said the 3.821 million toys will now be made available to families in impoverished neighborhoods at lower-than-market prices.

’Worse than the Grinch’

According to authorities, the operation began Thursday, but law enforcement officials were still at the warehouse Saturday.

Officials also detained at least two people as part of the operation.

“Now what?” a woman asked on Twitter, “is (President) Nicolás Maduro the modern Grinch?”

Another Twitter user told CNN that the Venezuelan government is “worse than the Grinch.”

It’s not clear what effect, if any, the confiscation of the millions of toys will have on the toy market in Venezuela just two weeks before Christmas.

Government officials said some of the toys were bought by Kriesel as far back as 2008 and were being kept in storage to be sold for a much higher margin of profit, as high at 25,000%, according to government figures.

The consumer protection agency has asked the Venezuelan attorney general’s office to prohibit Kreisel executives from leaving the country as they conduct their investigation.

CNN has not been able to reach company executives for comment.

Deep economic crisis

Under Venezuela’s socialist government, toys are included on the list of regulated products that have to be sold at government-approved prices.

Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce President Francisco Martínez told CNN the government is “acting in an irresponsible way,” discouraging job creation and endangering private property.

“This was plundering of inventory. The government didn’t even respect the company’s right of due process,” Fernández said.

Venezuela is experiencing a deep economic crisis that has seen inflation skyrocketing to a whopping 500% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The IMF says it may reach 1,660% in 2017.

In November alone, the bolivar, the Venezuelan currency, lost more than half its value. Shortages of food staples like rice, flour and chicken are commonplace and hospitals are critically short on medicines and medical supplies.

The central bank plans to introduce new bills this month worth as much as 20,000 bolivars – 200 times the largest note currently in circulation – after the hyperinflation turned its currency into worthless pieces of paper.

The largest current note is the 100 bolivar, which is officially worth 15 US cents, or just 2 cents based on widely used unofficial exchange rates.

CNN’s Rafael Romo wrote the story in Atlanta. Journalist Jorge Luis Pérez Valery reported from Caracas.