The extradition of the seven taxi drivers involved in the murder of a US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent has been confirmed on Friday, according to the Office of the Prosecutor General.
“These seven people who had been captured for extradition will be made available to the U.S. government,” Deputy Attorney Jorge Fernando Perdomo said in a statement. “This completes the process.”
DEA Agent James “Terry” Watson was killed in a botched robbery attempt in northern Bogota on June 20, 2013.
In a previous report, the seven alleged murderers expressed remorse for their crimes and are willing to face the 45-year maximum sentences under the Colombian courts. However in the United States the defendants’ sentences can be longer.
The case began a back and forth as the defendants’ lawyer, Miguel Ramirez filed an appeal on his clients’ behalf, claiming that the crime was committed on Colombian territory by Colombian citizens and therefore the defendants should be tried in Colombian court.
According to the statement released by the Prosecutor General, the fundamental reason extradition will proceed is under article 3 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons.
Watson’s diplomatic status as an “internationally protected” agent meant that the US can request extradition for any crimes against him whether it be on US land or not and the criminals involved would be tried in a US court.
President Juan Manuel Santos and the Colombian Supreme Court had already signed off on the extradition of the seven men to the United States.
The seven taxi drivers will be brought up on charges of murder of an internationally protected person, murder of an officer of the United States, conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping, according to Colombia’s Semana news-magazine.
While in Colombian custody, the men admitted to 50 more victims of the “millionaire rides,” a form of robbery in which a victim is taken to a series of ATMs and forced to withdraw money, often under the influence of drugs.
- Taxistas implicados en homicidio de agente de la DEA serán extraditados (Office of the Prosecutor General)
- Con un pie en EE. UU. taxistas que mataron agente de la DEA (Semana)