Joe Biden will ask Venezuelan president to release jailed American, senator's office says

Joshua and Thammy Holt (Photo courtesy Facebook)

 (Joshua and Thammy Holt (Photo courtesy Facebook))

Vice President Joe Biden will reach out to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to plead for the release of Utah resident Joshua Holt who is being held in the South American country on weapons charges, a spokesman for Sen. Orrin Hatch told Fox News Latino.

The spokesman, Matt Whitlock, said Biden will push for Holt’s immediate release.

“We’re hopeful that there’s momentum,” Whitlock said.

In a video released Monday, the Utah senator said that both Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry have become involved in Holt's case. He said the State Department is helping Holt so he can leave Venezuela once he and his Venezuelan wife are released from jail.

"We will see justice for Josh in the end,” Hatch said in his video statement. “I intend to see that that happens."

Holt, who is from Riverton, Utah, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was arrested June 30 on weapons charges after traveling to Venezuela to marry a woman he’d met on a Mormon website. His wife, Thamara Caleño Candelo, 25, was also arrested and is being held in the same prison.

Holt was scheduled to have a hearing on his case Sept 15, but the judge failed to appear in court. According to his attorney, Jeannette Prieto, the hearing has been rescheduled to Oct. 11.

Holt, portrayed by the socialist government as a “gringo agent,” was arrested five days after his wedding.

Since his arrest, Holt’s family has said Josh’s health has been deteriorating. His attorney said a judge has approved three requests by Holt to be transferred to a medical facility but the inquiries were later denied by the prison where he’s being held.

On Tuesday, however, he was taken to a military hospital for a checkup. Holt's lawyer told Fox News Latino he left the prison at around 7 am and by 11 am he was back behind bars. She said she will have more information on Thursday, the one day a week she is allowed to see him.

Hatch’s spokesman said Consulate officials visited Holt recently to see how he was doing.

“He informed them he was doing better healthwise,” he said.

Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.