CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) " A judge in Venezuela has ordered an American man to stand trial on weapons charges, dashing hopes of his family in Utah that he would be released and be with them for Christmas.

Tuesday*s ruling in a preliminary hearing came almost 18 months after Joshua Holt was arrested.

Holt traveled to Venezuela in 2016 to marry a woman and a few months later was arrested at her family's apartment by police who alleged he was stockpiling weapons.

His mother, Laurie Holt, says she is devastated. The ruling comes a day after she released an audio recording of her son complaining of being in failing health.

She also expressed anger the judge denied the head of the U.S. Embassy access to the courtroom.