Colombian taxi driver admits role in killing of US agent


Email Print

A Colombian taxi driver pleaded guilty on Wednesday to his part in the kidnap and murder of a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in Bogota last year, the US Justice Department said.
Julio Estiven Gracia Ramirez, 31, was part of a gang of men who targeted DEA agent James Watson for a so-called "millionaire's ride" in June last year.
The violent street crime sees individuals believed to be wealthy lured into taxi cabs before they are kidnapped and robbed.
A Justice Department statement said Gracia Ramirez had picked up Watson outside a Bogota restaurant in his taxi.
Two other men then jumped into the cab, and attacked Watson with a stun gun and a knife before the agent managed to scramble out of the car. Watson later collapsed and died from his injuries.
Gracia Ramirez was later arrested and extradited to face trial in Virginia for Watson's murder.
He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of aiding and abetting the murder of an internationally protected person and conspiracy to kidnap an internationally protected person. He will be sentenced on December 5.
"Special Agent Watson gave his life in the service of his country, and we will do everything in our power to honor his sacrifice," US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
"The Department of Justice will not rest until all those involved in this senseless act of violence have been held to account for their crimes."
Six other defendants have been charged in Virginia in connection with the killing.
Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, 39; Omar Fabian Valdes Gualtero, 27; Edgar Javier Bello Murillo, 27; Hector Leonardo Lopez, 34; and Andres Alvaro Oviedo-Garcia, 22, are each charged with second degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.
Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica, 31, is charged for his alleged efforts to destroy evidence. Trial is set for January 2015.

More World News