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Six Colombians indicted in DEA agent's death in Bogota

By CNN Staff
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Six Colombians accused of operating a robbery and kidnapping ring out of cabs
  • These attacks in the South American country are called "millionaire rides"
  • DEA Special Agent James "Terry" Watson died after being stabbed in a cab robbery

(CNN) -- A Virginia grand jury indicted six Colombian nationals Thursday for the kidnapping and murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in the South American country during an attempted robbery last month, federal authorities said.

Special Agent James "Terry" Watson died after being stabbed in a taxi in Bogota, Colombia, on June 20. He was assigned to the DEA unit in Cartagena and was on temporary duty in Bogota.

The six defendants operated a robbery and kidnapping conspiracy using cabs in Bogota to lure victims, and the driver of the cab would signal to conspirators to commence the abduction and robbery, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Watson was allegedly shocked with a stun gun by one defendant and stabbed with a knife by another defendant, the Justice Department said.

10 things to know before visiting Colombia

Watson, 42, had been watching the last game of the NBA finals at a Bogota restaurant at night and left in a taxi, a State Department spokesman said last month.

Investigators believe Watson's cab stopped at a traffic light and his assailants jumped out of two other cabs, which pulled up on either side of the vehicle in which he was riding, a law enforcement official said.

According to the official, Watson managed to escape from the cab and was taken to a hospital, where he died.

In Colombia, such attacks are known as "millionaire rides." Authorities said the suspects they arrested were part of a gang known for millionaire ride robberies.

The DEA said Watson was a 13-year veteran of the agency. He had been sent to Afghanistan three times on counternarcotics trafficking assignments and had previously served in the Army and worked for the U.S. Marshals Service.

The indictment sends "an unmistakable message to all who commit acts of violence against America's law enforcement professionals: no matter who you are or where you live, we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Indicted were:

-- Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, 38.
-- Omar Fabian Valdes Gualtero, 27.
-- Edgar Javier Bello Murillo, 26.
-- Hector Leonardo Lopez, 23.
-- Julio Estiven Gracia Ramierez, 30.
-- Andrés Alvaro Oviedo-Garcia, 21.

Each of them was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to kidnap.

Oviedo-Garcia was also charged with two counts of assault.

The federal grand jury in Virginia also indicted Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica, 30, a Colombian national, for his allegedly trying to destroy evidence in Watson's murder, the Justice Department said.col TV reported.

The United States will request extradition of the suspects, but it has not yet done so formally, a law enforcement official said.

U.S. officials have extradited and prosecuted suspects accused of killing U.S. federal agents in the past.

Read more: Colombia arrests fake nuns with cocaine under their habits

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