Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida may have been the subject of a death threat from a Venezuelan official, according to a memo sent out by the Department of Homeland Security.
The former Republican presidential hopeful has been a vocal critic of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, according to Newser. A DHS memo sent out to law enforcement agencies in July described an unconfirmed "order to have Senator Rubio assassinated," possibly originating from a Venezuelan official.
The official, Diosdado Cabello Rondon, was formerly an army lieutenant, but is now thought to lead the country's security forces. Cabello has been called the "Pablo Escobar of Venezuela" for his alleged involvement with drug trafficking, and has reportedly called the senator "Narco Rubio."
Federal authorities were unable to confirm if the threat was credible, but Rubio was guarded with security for a number of weeks, according to the Miami Herald.
"[Cabello] did indeed issue an order ... to have Senator Rubio assassinated," said the memo, according to Politico, which has seen the document. The memo stressed that the information regarding the plot was not confirmed.
The memo also said Cabello may have gotten in touch with "unspecified Mexican nationals" to discuss the alleged plot to kill Rubio.
"It would be inappropriate for DHS to comment on the seriousness of the threat," said department spokesman David Lapan, who added that Capitol Police "is responsible for the security of members of Congress."
"Federal Protective Service (FPS) and USCP collaborate regularly and have processes in place to share information and, as applicable, process requests for assistance. USCP has not requested assistance at this time," Lapan added, CBS reports.
Rubio has previously spoken out again Maduro's government after a vote in late July, which created a new legislative body with power that goes beyond the other parts of the government, including Venezuela's opposition-led parliament. Cabello is one of the delegates to that assembly.
"We have lost a democracy," Rubio said before the July 30 vote.
After President Donald Trump said that a "military option" was not off the table in Venezuela, Cabello blasted the U.S. on Twitter.
"We're not surprised by threats from the empire, from its chief Trump," tweeted Cabello. "In the face of such deranged imperial threats, each person should man their trench. Mine will be next to the people defending the fatherland!"
Cabello is not one of the 30 officials from Venezuela, including Maduro, against whom the U.S. has created sanctions. Those officials, the U.S. said, had undermined democracy, repressed dissenters and engaged in corruption.