American citizen detained in Venezuela on espionage & terrorism charges.
On Thursday September 10 the Venezuelan regime arrested 4 men in Los Pedros, Mene Mauroa municipality, on the border of Falcón and Zulia states in Venezuela. They would later be described by Regime boss Nicolas Maduro as spies for the American Government and terrorists conspiring to damage the Amuay and Cardon refineries.
Among those arrested was John Matthew Heath an American citizen who worked for 10 years in Iraq with MVM inc, a Private Military Contractor (PMC) protecting CIA and NSA personnel in conflict zones. Mr Heath is alleged to have entered illegally through Paraguachón on the border with Colombia a little north west of Maracaibo. To avoid being detained at the checkpoints on the roads to Punto Fijo, he hired GNB 3rd Sergeant Major, Darwin Adreizo Urdaneta Pardo. In the initial arrest photos the Sergeant Major is not present which suggests he may have gotten cold feet about helping sneak the American through the checkpoints and instead setup the other 3 to be taken by the regime.
Unlike Silvercorp, the company that planned and executed the disastrous Operation Gedeon, MVM is one of the leading American PMC's with decades of experience successfully completing missions in more than 70 countries and all 50 U.S. states.
When we take a closer look at the evidence the Regime presents there are several inconsistencies that immediately stand out. For starters we have the original arrest photo posted on social media by the GNB as is normal procedure. In the photo there are only 3 people not 4 & we only see the satellite phone, 2 smartphones and a small waterproof pelican case, there are no weapons, no cash and no explosives. There is however a police dog that was used in the initial search of the vehicle and a short video clip of the trunk search.
Later the regime claims to have found the weapons when the vehicle was transferred the the DGCIM and searched more thoroughly, but there are several parts of this that do not make sense. First the bag of money that was apparently found sitting on the back seat, but wasn't noticed during the initial search seems incredibly unlikely.
Under the seat they claim to have found an Uzi sub machine gun and 4 bricks of what appear to be Semtex plastic explosives, while this is the most plausible part of evidence when taken in conjunction with all the other clearly falsified evidence I still consider it very suspect.
Finally they claim to have found an AT-4 anti tank rocket hidden in the trunk, but as we saw in the video from the initial search and arrest, there was no rocket launcher.
Later in a press conference the evidence was all laid out and the writing on the side of the AT-4 could be more clearly seen. These instructions were in Spanish not English making it much more likely it came from Venezuela's own stockpile.
Despite all the obviously planted evidence, there are still a number of facts that point to these individuals being involved in some form of illegal activity or possibly even spying.
The satellite phone seen in all the pictures is an Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 which has the capability to transmit its location, as well as send and receive email, text and voice communications. This is a high end satellite phone and something that would typically used by people involved in spying or smuggling of narcotics and gold. Within Venezuela the state has the ability to listen in on cellular phone calls and intercept text messages. Satellite phones are commonly used to circumvent this type of surveillance.
Among the evidence the regime presented were smartphone images that were supposed to be "surveillance of the Amuay & Cardon refinery complex's". One shows a section of the security wall that has damaged razor wire across the top of the fence and an oil storage tank in the background, the damaged razor wire might allow a person to sneak over the fence and access the refinery complex. A second photo shows a gate and the same storage tank from a different angle. There is also a photo from a more distant angle that also shows the fencing, and one of the entrance to the Zodi Falcon headquarters.
While these images clearly don't show anything about the refinery itself in any detail some might be useful if someone wanted to sneak into the complex and cause damage. Why the image of the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge was included I cant explain.
The most compelling piece of information that suggests the men were spying on the refineries at the behest of the U.S. Government is that shortly after their arrest an American RC-135 Rivet Joint plane took off from Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and flew down into the Caribbean to conduct surveillance off the coast of Venezuela. This particular aircraft is 1 of 17 the Air Force has in inventory and they are in very high demand around the world. Their use is a good indicator something of significance it occurring and past instances when this type of aircraft has been seen off the coast of Venezuela was prior to the first Operation Gedeon landing, and before the failed April military uprising when Leopoldo Lopez was freed.
At the time of their arrest the men were apparently trying to arrange a boat to Aruba which offers another possible explanation for Mr Heath sneaking into Venezuela. One of the services MVM offers is secure transportation in hostile territory, Its possible he was supposed to be helping someone leave the country secretly. In recent days the regime has freed or transferred to house arrest many political prisoners including some that have the necessary resources to hire a company like this to assist in their escape from Venezuela.
MVM inc has not returned a request for comment and none of the official U.S. Government agencies have made a statement thus far. As this situation develops further we will update this article with any new details that emerge.
Written by: Simon Bolivar
images from ADSBexchange.com