In the week ending on September 13th, an alleged U.S. spy was arrested in Venezuela, according to President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan authorities detained a US citizen named Matthew John Heath.
On September 14th, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said that the arrested person was suspected of espionage, as well as a terrorist conspiracy, preparing to sabotage the work of oil refineries and electricity supplies in order to stir up unrest in the country.
The Venezuelan prosecutor’s office said that the US citizen, allegedly connected with the CIA.
Ultimas Noticias newspaper, citing a preliminary report by the authorities, said the U.S. suspect was a former marine who had fought in Iraq, and that during the arrest soldiers seized a satellite phone, credit cards and mobile phones.
He received help from three Venezuelan conspirators (one of them from the military), who were also arrested near a pair of oil refineries on the Venezuelan Caribbean coast.
The detainees’ mobile phones bore images of alleged targets, including a large bridge in Zulia state, military installations and the Amuay and Cardon refineries in Falcon state.
Pictures of the items seized from the group, including a grenade launcher, plastic explosives, a satellite phone and a bag of US dollars, were shown on television across the country.
“Everything here can be qualified as a lethal weapon designed to harm and promote murder and crimes against the people of Venezuela,” said Attorney General Tarek William Saab.
Authorities have charged Matthew Heath with terrorism, arms trafficking and conspiracy, as well as intending to open a drug trafficking route through Venezuela.
According to the Attorney General, Heath is also charged with illegal entry from Colombia into Venezuela without a passport, a copy of which was hidden in his shoe.
It is noted that he worked for three months a year in Iraq as a communications specialist between 2006 and 2016 at MVM Inc., a private security company based in Virginia, which confirmed to the press that Heath “is not currently an employee or contractor.”
The United States Marine Corps said that a man under that name served as a communications specialist from 1999 to 2003, but cannot confirm that he is in custody in Venezuela.
The US authorities have not officially commented on this case yet.
It should be reminded that Venezuela is in a crisis and is suffering from a fuel shortage due to US sanctions.
The state of Zulia, where the bridge designated in the case is located, is a major center for oil production, which has now practically stopped operation.
he Amuay and Cardon factories are also possible targets for sabotage – part of the huge Paraguana oil refinery complex on Venezuela’s northern Caribbean coast. According to Western media, these dilapidated factories have stopped producing gasoline and Venezuela is dependent on supplies from Iran despite hosting the world’s largest oil reserves.
However, it is known that recently the Iranians brought spare parts and equipment to Venezuela so that the country could independently resume oil refining.
Separately, also in Zulia state, a plane registered in the United States containing a large shipment of drugs inside was rendered inoperable.
Nestor Reverol, Minister of People’s Power for Internal Affairs, Peace and Justice announced that the plane had attempted to enter Venezuela from Colombia.
As the official announced on his Twitter page, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) detected the illegal aerial unit through the Comprehensive Aerospace Defense Command (Codai) radars.
Afterward, all of the established protocols under the Law of Control for Comprehensive Aerospace Defense were activated, through which they were able to render it inoperable close to a secret runway in the Machiques de Perija municipality. The plane had U.S. tags and entered Venezuelan territory illegally.
Logrando la inutilización cerca de una pista clandestina, en el municipio Machiques de Perijá. pic.twitter.com/TUFUm1RpG6
— Néstor Reverol (@NestorLReverol) September 15, 2020
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