Venezuelan security forces on Tuesday detained Miguel Rodriguez Torres, a former interior minister and intelligence chief who officials say was connected to armed attacks on public institutions past year.
Moments later, he was escorted into the back of a police vehicle and driven away by what witnesses said were heavily armed agents from the Sebin intelligence police the same force he created in 2010 while serving as Chavez's trusted adviser.
"He has been captured and handed over to the justice system", read the statement.
"The criminal actions planned by this gentleman and his accomplices include armed actions and conspiring against our constitution", said the statement, which demanded Rodriguez Torres' "treason" be met with "severity".
Former state governor Henri Falcon will run against Maduro despite criticism from commentators who say that Falcon's participation will simply legitimise an election that he can't hope to win.
The main opposition coalition is boycotting the election on the grounds that the elections council has historically favoured the ruling Socialist Party, and because the best-known candidates have been jailed or barred from holding office.
With deep ties to the military, traditionally the arbiter of political disputes in Venezuela, Rodriguez Torres has managed to distinguish himself from other former government loyalists on the left even while, until now, evading arrest or prosecution like many of Maduro's conservative opponents.
The last straw for the Maduro government appears to have been when Rodriguez Torres expressed his intention to join the Frente Amplio Venezuela Libre launched by the opposition alliance MUD.
Iris Varela, the minister responsible for prison affairs, had called for Rodriguez Torres's arrest for alleged involvement in Perez's plans.