Seven members of a gang charged with the murder of DEA agent, James “Terry” Watson, in Colombia’s capital, Bogota, have been extradited to the United States where they will be tried for his murder under US law.
The gang members were taken from Bogota’s la Picota jail Tuesday morning and transferred to Catam military airport for their extradition to the United States whilst their families protested, reported Radio Santa Fe.
President Juan Manuel Santos signed their extradition orders on 26 June, exactly one year after the crime, after it had been endorsed by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court.
The extradited are: Edwin Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, alias “Garcho,” 38; Gualtero Fabian Omar Valdes, 27; Edgar Bello Javier Murillo, alias “Clown”, 26; Hector Leonardo Lopez, 23; July Estiven Gracia Ramirez, 30; Alvaro Oviedo and Andrew Garcia, 21.
The extradited will face charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap before the Court of Virginia, United States, and the gang members will be subject to maximum life sentences rather than the 45 year maximum in Colombia.
The Supreme Court of Colombia gave its approval to the extradition of those implicated in the crime by arguing that Watson was a diplomatic agent, and that the murder could have possibly threatened collaboration between the United States and Colombia.
DEA agent, James “Terry” Watson, was killed on June 20, 2013 during a botched attempted robbery in the north of the Colombian capital, Bogota.
The gang of seven confessed to taking at least 50 victims on “millionaire rides,” a form of robbery in which a victim is taken to an ATM and forced to take out money, often under the influence of drugs.
In this case, Watson hailed a taxi outside a restaurant where he was watching the NBA finals on TV. His taxi driver conspired with a group of six others to take Watson for a “millionaire ride,” but Watson reportedly fought back and in the ensuing struggle was stabbed to death.
Watson was a 13-year veteran of the DEA. He had been sent to Afghanistan three times on counter-narcotics trafficking assignments and had previously served in the Army and worked for the U.S. Marshals Service.