Venezuelan prosecutors assured this Monday that an “American spy” arrested late last week in the state of Falcón (northwest) was sabotaging several of the South American country’s armed forces.
According to Attorney General Tarek William Saab, the American Matthew John Heat was arrested last Thursday in Falcón state while “carrying out espionage and destabilization activities with the assistance of stateless military and civilians”.
Heat’s espionage work consisted of “gathering strategic intelligence from the Amuay refinery – one of the most important in the country – in order to carry out possible acts of sabotage,” Saab continued.
The Venezuelan prosecutor also said that the alleged spy was planning actions against military posts in the states bordering Colombia, Zulia and one of the regions hardest hit by the crisis in Venezuela, and Falcón.
Last Friday the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, reported on the arrest of an “American spy” in the state of Falcón who was carrying “heavy” and “specialized” weapons.
Saab said the arrest was made on the highway connecting Falcón and Zulia states when Heat was occupying a vehicle with three other people, including Venezuelan Armed Forces officer Darwin Urdaneta.
During the arrest, the Venezuelan authorities confiscated a grenade launcher, a submachine gun, suspected explosives (C4) and US dollar cash, the amount of which has not been determined.
A satellite phone and “coin” were also found, which Saab said was used to connect Heat to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“When it was shown (the coin for Heat) he said, ‘I want to speak to staff at the American embassy,’” Saab added.
Saab also said those involved in the case intended to ship drugs from Colombia to Aruba using Venezuelan territory “to support the United States government’s campaign of discredit and aggression against the country.”
Venezuelan prosecutors will charge Heat with alleged terrorism, illicit arms trafficking, and association, as well as the same crimes and treason for which seven Venezuelans are indicted in this case.
Venezuela has been suffering from a severe petrol shortage for days that has multiplied the number of gas stations across the country, the country with the world’s proven oil reserves.
This is the second major fuel shortage in 2020. The first was between March and April and ended when Venezuela bought a lot of gasoline from Iran that was never released.
Despite the fact that Venezuela has not disclosed how many barrels of oil it produces per day in years, various sources have estimated it to be between 330,000 and 400,000, a far cry from the more than 3 million barrels the country is in has produced per day for the last ten years.