Most recent UPDATES added at the bottom as this situation unfolds.
The family of a Riverton, Utah man says he’s being held in a Venezuelan jail and is accused of being a U.S. spy.
Finding the love of his life, Josh Holt and his new bride went on a honeymoon June 30th to Caracas, Venezuela only to find himself jailed for spying.
According to Venezuelan news agency Notisur24 the arrest came after Josh failed to stop for police. In a search of the room Josh and his bride were staying in, police say they found guns and a grenade!
Laurie Holt, Josh’s mother, has been in contact with the representatives in Utah where they live and they are in touch with the Embassy there but they say no one from the embassy is allowed to see him at this time. Holt said:
“Everybody said he can’t go there, it’s dangerous”
“His wife even said that it’s very dangerous for Americans to be there, but he said, ‘I’ll be OK.’ He was in love. They don’t listen when they are in love.”
Meanwhile he sits in a jail awaiting trial which Holt said could take as long as 45 days. The Embassy suggested she get a lawyer down there which could become quite expensive. Some friends of the Holts are suspicious believing this is a government sponsored kidnapping under the banner of law enforcement. As Venezuela continues to struggle with economic turmoil many government offices are short money for payroll and other expenses.
“We are being cautious. We have been told to be prepared for them to ask for money,” Holt said. “So we’re waiting for that to happen. I hope and pray that I get a phone call tomorrow from him saying he’s coming home” Holt adds.
On Saturday Holt posted on her Facebook page this update:
“We have gotten some information about Josh this morning, nothing I can share at this time…We have been told that miracles have occurred for him that we DON’T even know about.”
The Holt family has set up a GoFundMe account to help get him home. If you can’t donate you can still help by sharing this story… and praying.
*Update 7-8-2016 3:50 pm: Laurie Holt tells us that the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela has been given permission for someone from the embassy to meet with Joshua Holt in prison on July 12th. This will be the first time anyone has spoken to Joshua since his arrest. We will be sure to bring you more updates as we receive them.
*Update 7-11-2016 8:02 pm: the lawyer tried seeing Josh today with NO luck. Josh’s Mom is breaking down, we feel as if our story is dying… please please please whatever you can do to help.
*Update 7-11-2016: Josh is one of 12 U.S. citizens currently being held in Venezuela, an official with the U.S. Embassy in Caracas told Fox News Latino. “The U.S. Department of State takes very seriously its obligation of helping American citizens jailed abroad. We expect that Venezuela’s government will grant all American citizens their rights and due process according to Venezuelan and international law,” the official added. H/T FoxNewsLatino
*Update 7-24-2016: We’ve been following this story and it keeps getting worse. First accused of being a spy, now Venezuela is saying Josh Holt is a member of a hit squad! Fox 13 in Salt Lake City gives the latest update.
Find updates daily from Lauri Holt on Facebook.
Also at JusticeForJosh on Facebook. Please share the updates and use the hashtag #JusticeForJosh.
Author, Zel Mitzel is a Christian Conservative living in Minnesota and friends of the Holt family. You can see more of his work at TheDailyZealot on Facebook.