A US judge has denied a motion filed by four Colombians implicated in the murder of a DEA agent that they allowed to stand trial in Colombia, according to local media.
Caracol Radio obtained documents from a ruling given by judge Bruce Lee in a Virginia court which argued that “the decision of a foreign government to extradite a person is not subject to revision in the courts of the United States.”
There are a total of seven suspects who were extradited to the United States this summer to stand trial for the murder of DEA agent Terry Watson after a botched robbery known as a “millionaire’s ride.”
The arguments of the four plaintiffs for the annulment of the Virginia court’s jurisdiction centered on accusations that during their detention in Bogota, they were mistreated and pressured by DEA agents, violating their right to due process.
One of the plaintiff’s requested that the decision be reconsidered, which was declined. A document signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary said the plaintiff’s claims were not “credible” and that the alleged violations of due process do not have the legal foundation to annul and extradition.
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 will face charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap, facing 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.