Seven Colombians were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in the killing of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was attacked in taxi cab last month in what is known as a "millionaire's ride," federal officials said.
Special Agent James Terry Watson was targeted for robbery June 20, according to the indictment, which alleges that one of the defendants shocked him with a stun gun and another stabbed him. He was declared dead at a hospital from multiple stab wounds.
The indictment, filed in federal court in Virginia, said the men were part of a ring that operated taxis in Bogota and sought customers they perceived as wealthy. When a victim entered one of the cabs, the driver would alert other gang members who would arrive in a second cab and enter the back seat with the victim.
They would then hold the victim captive and rob him or her of credit cards and other valuables, and force the victim to divulge PINs for the cards, the indictment said. A cohort in a third cab would drive bank to bank to withdraw as much money as possible from the victim's accounts. Meanwhile, the victim would be held to ensure that the PINs were accurate, and if they were not, additional force would be applied, according to the indictment.
Such robberies are known in Colombia as a "millionaire's ride," the indictment says.
Six of the men were each charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to kidnap, the Justice Department said in a statement. They were Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, 38; Omar Fabian Valdes Gualtero, 27; Edgar Javier Bello Murillo, 26; Hector Leonardo Lopez, 23; Julio Estiven Gracia Ramierez, 30; and Andrés Alvaro Oviedo-Garcia, 21. Oviedo-Garcia was also charged with two counts of assault.
A seventh man, Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica, 30, was indicted on charges alleging he tried to destroy evidence.
The attack came outside a restaurant in the well-to-do Parque de la 93 area of the Colombian capital, a police official told Reuters after the attack. U.S. Ambassador P. Michael McKinley said Watson had been watching basketball with friends.
First published July 18 2013, 6:50 PM