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UPDATE: Pocatello native Joshua Holt will be released from Venezuela today

Local

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KSL) — After two years in captivity in Venezuela, Pocatello native Joshua Holt will be released.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office confirmed the news in a Saturday morning statement.

“I’m pleased to announce that after two years of hard work, we’ve secured the release of Josh and Thamy Holt, who are now on their way home to the United States from Venezuela,” Hatch said in an emailed statement.

Holt will soon be reunited with his family in Riverton, Utah Hatch said.

He was taken captive and imprisoned in 2016 after Venezuelan authorities claimed he was keeping guns in the home of the woman he went to the country to marry. They also said he was part of an American conspiracy to overthrow Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro.

His family has said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time of a raid in the Caracas neighborhood of his wife, Thamara Caleno, whom he met through online Spanish lessons after returning from an LDS mission.

In the statement, Hatch said he has been working through two Presidential administrations to secure Holt’s release. He said he had negotiated directly with Maduro about the issue.

“I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton,” Hatch said.

President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday morning about Holt’s release. He said the Utahn would be landing in Washington, D.C. about 7 p.m. Saturday.

“Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela,” Trump tweeted. “The great people of Utah will be very happy!”

Calls to Holt’s family members were not immediately returned on Saturday morning.

The announcement comes less than a week after a message appeared on a Facebook page belonging to Holt, saying in part that “I am not a political pawn I am a human being a child of God and I just want to live happy with my wife and children. I have NEVER done anything wrong in my life. Please help me!!”

This article was originally published by KSL.com. It is used here with permission.

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