A Utah man being held in Venezuela on weapons charges says he's been harassed by police and forced to sleep in a hot cell barely big enough for a small bed.

Laurie Holt told The Associated Press Tuesday that she received a copy of the first letter from jail by her son Joshua Holt from his Venezuelan mother-in-law after a recent jailhouse visit. She posted a typed transcript of the handwritten message on Facebook.

The former Mormon missionary was arrested two months ago when police raided the public housing complex where he was staying with his Venezuelan bride while they awaited her U.S. visa. Authorities reported finding an assault rifle there.

Holt says in the letter that police planted the weapon and had demanded $10,000 to leave him alone.