Venezuelan officials have announced the seizure of a large shipment of American weapons which they say were bound for anti-Maduro “terrorist groups”. This comes following US national security advisor John Bolton’s pledge to deliver “humanitarian aid” into the country, covertly if need be, despite embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s vow to prevent such unauthorized shipments from entering.
A state official, Endes Palencia, the deputy minister of prevention and public safety, published photographs of the intercepted weapons shipment to social media, purportedly seized at a Venezuelan airport. According to his statement at least 19 rifles, 118 rifle chargers, 90 radio antennas, high-caliber ammunition, and six cellphones were shipped from the US to Arturo Michelena International Airport in Valencia.
Palencia stated authorities believe the illegal arms entered Venezuela on Sunday aboard an Airbus N881YV that departed Miami, Florida after which it was found in a storage yard within the airport grounds.
An investigation has been launched amidst tightened security at all ports of entry and customs checkpoints throughout the country, and as a military build-up ordered by Caracas continues along the the border with Colombia, considered a close ally of the United States and potential staging ground for US assets.
According to a quote in Turkish media, pro-Maduro officials pointed to “terrorist groups” and external financiers as likely responsible for the covert arms shipment.