Another US military veteran has been captured and labeled as a “spy” by Venezuela, this time reportedly attempting to sabotage oil refineries and electrical services.
The US Marine Corps veteran, identified as Matthew John Heath, was captured last week near a pair of oil refineries on the country’s north Caribbean coast.
The existence of a man by that name was confirmed by the USMC, stating that Heath served in the Corps from 1999 until 2003, but that they could not confirm that he was the same man arrested in Venezuela.
According to CBS News, the Heath confirmed by the USMC was a communications specialist and left the service as a corporal.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on Friday that the “spy” had been captured, claiming he was a Marine and former CIA operative in Iraq.
Heath was allegedly captured with what appeared to be an AT-4 anti-tank rocket and an Uzi submachine gun.
Heath has been charged with terrorism, trafficking illegal weapons, and conspiracy.
According to CBS News, Venezuelan Chief Prosecutor Tarek William Saab claimed Heath had worked in Iraq as a communications specialist three months each year from 2006 to 2016 for MVM Inc., a Virginia-based private security contracting company.
“Everything here could qualify as a lethal weapon designed to cause harm and to promote assassinations, crimes against the people of Venezuela,” said Saab, who also accused the man of planning to open a drug trafficking route during a statement on state-run television.
Several Venezuelans were arrested in connection with Heath’s unlawful presence in the country.
The arrest comes mere months after a failed “coup” in Venezuela, which involved two US military veterans who were operating for a private security company.
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