Colombian Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping and Murder of DEA Agent

Originally published on September 6, 2014, at

An extradited Colombian national pleaded guilty this week to aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person and conspiracy to kidnap an internationally protected person. On June 20, 2013, DEA Special Agent James Terry Watson stepped into a cab in Bogota, Colombia. In an attempted robbery gone wrong, Watson was stabbed four times and bled to death. Six other men have been extradited and charged with their involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Watson.

After watching the NBA Finals at a restaurant with friends, Watson left by himself and entered a cab. Video footage revealed a second car pulling up behind Watson’s cab at an intersection as two men exited the second vehicle. They immediately entered the back of Watson’s taxi. A few moments later, Watson escaped from the cab and fled down the street before collapsing.

Julio Estiven Gracia Ramirez admitted to using fake taxis to lure wealthy people into their cars, kidnap them, and force them to withdraw money from an ATM. He confessed to targeting Watson with the intent to rob him, but insisted he never knew Watson was a federal agent.

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