In this file picture taken on January 24, 2020 Venezuelaís Attorney General Tarek William Saab gestures during a press conference in Caracas. (By AFP)
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, Venezuelaís chief prosecutor Tarek Saab said the US citizen, Matthew John Heath, was plotting attacks against Venezuelaís 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.
"Yesterday we captured... an American spy who was spying in Falcon state on the Amuay and Cardon refineries," Maduro said in a televised address in capital Caracas on Friday.
The individual, Maduro said, was a member of the US Marine Corps who worked with the CIA in Iraq, and was captured with "heavy, specialized weapons and a large amount of cash" in the northwestern state.
Venezuelan authorities have stepped up security at all refineries in the Latin American country after the incidents.
Two former members of the US military were detained in Venezuela earlier this year after a group of mercenaries attempted to intrude into the northern state of La Guaira on speedboats. The Venezuelan military foiled the attack, killing eight of the armed men and arresting several others.
Caracas last month sentenced the two former US soldiers to 20 years in prison for their role in a May incursion aimed at ousting Maduro.