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Idaho native imprisoned in Venezuela since 2016 on way back to U.S.

Video shows released American detainee Joshua Holt boarding plane in Venezuela

A video posted to Twitter shows Joshua Holt, the Utah man who has been detained in Venezuela for almost two years without a trial, boarding an airplane to the United States after being released from Venezuelan custody on Saturday, May, 25, 2018.
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A video posted to Twitter shows Joshua Holt, the Utah man who has been detained in Venezuela for almost two years without a trial, boarding an airplane to the United States after being released from Venezuelan custody on Saturday, May, 25, 2018.

An Idaho native who has been held prisoner in Venezuela for two years was released Saturday, and the the Venezuelan government subsequently said that he and his wife were on board a plane to the United States.



Josh Holt, 26, most recently lived in Utah but is originally from Pocatello, according to EastIdahoNews.com. He traveled to Venezuela to meet his eventual wife, a woman he met taking online Spanish lessons after returning from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to reports.

The Holts were arrested by Venezuelan authorities in 2016 for supposedly keeping weapons in her home, a claim that Josh Holt has denied .

The Salt Lake Tribune wrote that, "(Holt's) family has denied the accusations and believe the Venezuelan government is holding Holt and his wife to bargain with the U.S., which has imposed economic sanctions on the country."

President Donald Trump President Donald Trump said the they would return to the United States at around 7 p.m. He tweeted that he would welcome them at the White House.

"As announced by the president, our son and his wife will be released today. We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish," the Holt family said in a statement. "We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews and statements. We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle."

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch released a statement announcing the release as well.

"Over the last two years, I've worked with two presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself," Hatch wrote. "... And I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh and his sweet, long suffering family in Riverton."

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