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US spy detained in Venezuela charged with terrorism, arms trafficking

Caracas says the American spy it recently arrested near a Venezuelan oil refinery has been charged with terrorism and weapons trafficking.

In comments on Monday, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor Tarek Saab said the US citizen, Matthew John Heath, was plotting attacks against Venezuela’s oil industry and electricity system.

Saab said Heath was not carrying a passport and had entered illegally via the Colombian border, but that authorities found a passport photocopy hidden in one of his shoes.

He also noted that Heath was carrying a “coin” linking him to the Central Intelligence Agency, without providing details, and said he had previously worked for a private military contractor.

Saab said three Venezuelan citizens, including one member of the military, were arrested and charged with treason as part of the alleged plot.

“They tried to fill the country with blood,” Saab said. “The Venezuelan state has managed to neutralize the plans to attack the oil industry and national electric system.”

Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the capture of the “American spy” with heavy weapons and money near two refineries in the country, which is gripped by an acute fuel shortage crisis as a result of illegal US-imposed sanctions.

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