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Indiana Man Accused of Attempted Murder in Venezuela

Venezuelan officials are accusing an Indiana man of being a mercenary and holding him on charges of arms trafficking and attempted murder.

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Photo: Táchira Government

This photo from the Táchira government shows the guns they say they confiscated from Todd Leininger's home.

The son of a Bloomington dance studio owner is being charged with attempted murder and arms trafficking in Venezuela.

Todd Leininger, the 32-year-old son of Barbara Leininger, was arrested after police raided his house in Venezuela.

The local government of Tachira, the state where the incident took place, has tweeted photos of guns allegedly confiscated from Leininger’s residence:

(Translation: Mercenary captured in Tachira Venezuela is linked to extreme right)

The Tachiran government has issued statements accusing Leininger of being a right-wing state agent, but his mother told The Miami Herald otherwise, saying he speaks little Spanish and has anxiety issues.

Barbara Leininger said she was able to briefly speak to her son after his arrest. He admitted shooting someone but said that it had been in self-defense.

“My son did feel like he was threatened and he was protecting himself and his family,” she said.

The suspect’s wife has also been arrested in the case.

Barbara Leininger said that her son has Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which requires anti-anxiety medication. She said he was worried about getting food and his medicine in jail.

The Tachiran government speculated he came to Venezuela with his wife a couple months ago. But according to Todd Leininger’s mother, the government has that part of the story wrong, too.

Again from the Miami Herald:

“Leininger said her son traveled from Indiana to San Cristóbal with his Venezuelan wife last week. His only plan, she said, was to take his sister-in-law household goods such as toilet paper, which have become hard-to-find amid Venezuela’s economic crisis.”

State Department officials did not respond for comment.

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