American Journalist Based in Caracas Detained by Maduro's Regime in Venezuela, Group Says

Journalist Cody Weddle was detained this morning at his home

UPDATE: Weddle was released and is being deported from Venezuela.

American journalist Cody Weddle was detained Wednesday in Venezuela after his home in Caracas was raided, the Venezuelan Union of Journalists (SNTP) said.

The organization made the announcement via their Twitter account and said that the home of the reporter — who is a contributor for ABC, CBS, Florida's WPLG Local 10 and newspapers including the Miami Herald and The Telegraph — was raided "by signed order of a military tribunal" and executed by the country's counterintelligence military.

The union added that he hadn't been heard from since 8 a.m. and "they took him under custody, along with his work equipment."

Weddle, who is a 29-year-old Virginia native, has been residing in Caracas since 2014, according to the Miami Herald.

According to SNTP, Weddle's assistant, Venezuelan Carlos Camacho, "also was detained by Executive Order of the Counterintelligence Military" following a raid on his home in Caracas.

"U.S. citizen and journalist Cody Weddle is missing in Venezuela and apparently arrested by the Maduro regime this morning," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said on his Twitter account. 

WPLG President and CEO E.R. Bert Medina released a statement on behalf of the station:

"We are working to find out all of the information we can on the whereabouts of reporter Cody Weddle. We are hearing reports his home was raided by the Venezuelan military. We have been unable to confirm specific details but a witness at the time of the raid claims Cody was taken into custody and his equipment confiscated. We have been unable to reach Cody today and are obviously very concerned about him. We are working through various channels to get as much information as we can and to see that Cody is released. Cody has been dedicated and committed to telling the story in Venezuela to our viewers here in South Florida. The arrest of a journalist doing his job is outrageous and unacceptable," Medina said. 

Weddle is from Meadowview, Virginia, near the Tennessee border, WPLG-TV in Miami reported. He graduated from Virginia Tech.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner urged his release.

"We have been informed of the detainment of Cody Weddle by his family, and I urge his swift and safe release by Venezuelan authorities," Warner told the Bristol Herald Courier. "This is another example of an alarming trend of leaders across the globe cracking down on freedom of the press."

The detention of Weddle comes one week after Univision journalist Jorge Ramos and his crew were briefly detained and deported from Venezuela, following an interview with Nicolas Maduro.

Telemundo reporter Daniel Garrido was detained for several hours Tuesday and reported missing before later being released. 

With the detention of Weddle and Camacho, there have now been 36 cases of journalists and press workers detained by Maduro's regime so far in 2019, according to SNTP. Three remain detained, and another will appear in court.

--NBC's Maria Chamberlain translated and contributed to this story.

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