The Americas

Venezuela arrests opposition lawmaker on weapons charges

  • FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2016, file photo, opposition activist Gilbert Caro, left, and LilianTintori, wife of opposition jailed leader Leopoldo Lopez, arrive at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela. Caro was detained Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at a highway toll station after police said they found a gun and explosives in his car. His Popular Will party said the weapons were planted to frame him. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2016, file photo, opposition activist Gilbert Caro, left, and LilianTintori, wife of opposition jailed leader Leopoldo Lopez, arrive at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela. Caro was detained Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, at a highway toll station after police said they found a gun and explosives in his car. His Popular Will party said the weapons were planted to frame him. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • National Guard officers stand outside of the Comptroller General building as lawyers of opposition leader Henrique Capriles meet with government officials, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Capriles said Wednesday that the Comptroller General seeks to disqualify him politically, calling him for a audience which could leave the Venezuelan opposition without one of its main figures for an eventual election. 2017. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    National Guard officers stand outside of the Comptroller General building as lawyers of opposition leader Henrique Capriles meet with government officials, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Capriles said Wednesday that the Comptroller General seeks to disqualify him politically, calling him for a audience which could leave the Venezuelan opposition without one of its main figures for an eventual election. 2017. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

  • A supporter of opposition leader Henrique Capriles screams against government of Nicolas Maduro, outside of the Comptroller General building in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Capriles said Wednesday, that the Comptroller General seeks to disqualify him politically, and calling him for a audience today which could leave the Venezuelan opposition without one of its main figures for an eventual election. 2017. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

    A supporter of opposition leader Henrique Capriles screams against government of Nicolas Maduro, outside of the Comptroller General building in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Capriles said Wednesday, that the Comptroller General seeks to disqualify him politically, and calling him for a audience today which could leave the Venezuelan opposition without one of its main figures for an eventual election. 2017. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuelan officials have arrested a hard-line opposition activist on weapons charges.

The arrest Wednesday night comes as a fledgling "anti-coup" unit inside the government targets what it calls renewed attempts by the opposition to destabilize the country.

Human rights groups say the arrest of substitute lawmaker Gilber Caro goes against the government's recent freeing of several jailed activists as part of Vatican-sponsored mediation effort. The opposition is asking the government to free about 100 people widely considered political prisoners as part of the dialogue process.

Caro was arrested at a highway toll station after police said they found a gun and explosives in his car. His Popular Will party says the weapons were planted there to frame him.