Two former U.S. Special Forces soldiers, Green Berets, Luke Denman and Airan Berry have bagged 20 years prison sentence in a Venezuelan court for their involvement in a failed attack to oust Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, according to prosecutors.
In a tweet on Friday August 7, 2020, Tarek William Saab, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, disclosed that Denman and Mr. Berry have admitted to their involvement in the ‘Operation Gideon’ on May 4 orchestrated by a third former U.S. soldier.
“They Admitted Their Responsibility for the facts,” said Saab.
According to Venezuelan prosecutors, Mr. Denman and Mr. Berry were found guilty of conspiracy, terrorism and of illegal arms trafficking.
Jordan Goudreau, a former Green Beret, who operated Silvercorp USA, a private, Florida-based security firm, assumed responsibility for the attack.
The attack launched under the name “Operation Gideon” from a temporary camp from the neighboring Columbia, left about eight rebel soldiers dead and landed 66 more in prison.
There were also claims that the attack was authorized by the U.S. backed opposition leader, Juan Guaid, for Mr. Goudreau to carry out the attack in an agreement by two of Mr. Guaidó’s former political advisers.
However, Mr. Guaidó and U.S. officials have denied any involvement in the attack.
Before Mr. Denman and Mr. Berry’s sentence, Venezuelan authorities had begun trial of six
American executives charged with corruption in their running of Citgo Company based in Houston.
In a move to intervene in the case that had spanned months, Bill Richardson, former New Mexico Governor, held a meeting with Mr. Maduro in the Venezuelan capital city, Caracas, to urge release of the executives for them to return home in the United States.
The governor said he would as well work to ensure release of Mr. Denman and Mr. Berry.
“Luke Denman and Airan Berry are American citizens and military veterans who deserve our support,” he said.
“We will continue our dialogue with the Venezuelans to try to find a way to bring them back home to their families,” he added.
Meanwhile last year, the U.S backed Mr. Guaidó, self-acclaimed Venezuela’s legitimate president who is hell-bent to oust Mr. Maduro.
Mr. Guaidó has accused Maduro of collapsing the country’s economy and wealth.
Mr. Maduro in his response said Mr. Guaidó is only after the nation’s oil wealth and that he is being pushed by the U.S.