A taxi driver, suspect in the June 2013 murder of a DEA agent, has pleaded guilty to the charges of murder and kidnapping in a Virginia courtroom.
Thirty-one year old Julio Estiven Gracia has been the first to be condemned out of seven suspects arrested for their alleged participation in the murder of James Watson.
Earlier this week, the US attorney general had offered the seven accused Colombian taxi drivers 25 years in prison if they pleaded guilty to homicide, kidnapping, and conspiracy charges. Gracia’s sentencing is scheduled for December 5, 2014.
“This conviction is a critical step forward. But while this action represents the first measure of justice for his kidnapping and murder, it will not be the last. The Department of Justice will not rest until all those involved in this senseless act of violence have been held to account for their crimes. Our nation will never yield in the protection and defense of its citizens. And we will continue to demonstrate that anyone who seeks to harm an American will be found, will be prosecuted, and will be brought to justice,” said US Attorney General Eric Holder.
Gracia stated in the the documents of his plea agreement that he and his partners in crime had indeed conspired to conduct a “millionare’s ride,” where a victim is kidnapped by a taxi and then driven around to empty his or her bank account.
DEA Agent James Watson was assaulted with a stun gun and a knife after he allegedly resisted his robbers in Colombia’s capital of Bogota. Shortly after, Watson succumbed to his wounds.
- Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping and Murder of DEA Agent Terry Watson (Department of Justice)