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Venezuelan court sentences former Green Berets to 20 years in plot to oust Maduro

Venezuelan court sentences former Green Berets to 20 years in plot to oust Maduro
Two former Green Berets were sentenced to 20 years by a Venezuelan court this week in connection with a plot to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shown here during a meeting with members of the Armed Forces in Caracas in May. EPA-EFE/MIRAFLORES PRESIDENTIAL PALACE / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A Venezuelan attorney general announced Friday that two former members of U.S. Special Forces have been sentenced to 20 years in prison for taking part in a raid to oust President Nicolás Maduro.

Tarek William Saab tweeted late Friday that Airan Berry, 42, and Luke Denman, 34, had admitted to having committed conspiracy, association, illicit trafficking of weapons of war and terrorism for "Operation Gideon," a plan of insurrection against Maduro.

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Saab also wrote that dozens of other defendants will be tried.

President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper have said the United States had nothing to do with the plot.

Berry and Denman were involved in training dozens of Venezuelan military defectors in Colombia before the launch of Operation Gideon.

Maduro shared Denman's alleged confession during a news conference this spring.

Under interrogation Denman said he had worked with Jordan Goudrea, a former Green Beret who ran Silvercorp, a Florida-based firm that helped organize the mission.

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