US targets Venezuela intelligence agency with sanctions

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's military intelligence agency, which is accused of torturing to death a navy captain in its custody.

The latest round sanctions announced Thursday by the U.S. Treasury Department is a further attempt to pressure President Nicolás Maduro to leave power.

The sanctions target Venezuela's General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence.

The agency arrested Capt. Rafael Acosta on suspicion of plotting to assassinate Maduro. He showed signs of torture before dying after a court appearance

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the "politically motivated arrest and tragic death" of Acosta was "unwarranted and unacceptable."

Maduro says the United State seeks to replace him with a puppet government headed by opposition lawmaker Juan Guaidó amid an economic war against his socialist country.