Venezuela to deport journalist, East Tennessee native

Tennessee

Venezuela has released journalist and Tri-Cities native Cody Weddle, according to the news station he works for. 

WPLG in Florida says Weddle is at the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetia, Venezuela awaiting deportation.

The station says Weddle will fly back to the United States, but is unsure when or where he will arrive. 

A group of government agents raided Weddle’s apartment and took him away early Wednesday morning, according to WPLG. Weddle says he was held for several hours alone with a ski mask covering his face. Guards reportedly searched his cell phone and computer and would sporadically question him about his work. 

“It was clear they didn’t like my reporting,” Weddle told Local 10’s Louis Aguirre. “They were interested in a story I did about the current atmosphere in the armed forces. “

He says he was not hurt during the ordeal but was without food and water during the interrogation. 

“I’m a little shaken up. I’m a little worried about my mom. As a journalist, it’s not nice to be the story, but that’s what happened,” Weddle said.

He says agents accused him of treason, espionage, and removing military artifacts. 

Weddle is a 2008 graduate of Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring, Virginia and interned at WATE Tri-Cities affiliate WJHL in 2010 and 2011. He is also a Virginia Tech alum. 

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