QUITO -- Colombian police have detained four men suspected of killing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent last week in what authorities say was a botched robbery. The suspects could be extradited to the United States to face trial in the murder of 42-year-old James “Terry” Watson, officials said Tuesday.
Watson, a Louisiana native, was in the capital of Bogotá, heading home in a cab after watching the NBA final Thursday, when his car was blocked by another taxi. Two suspects rushed him, he was stabbed and left on the street, police said. A passing patrol car took him to a nearby clinic where he died.
Authorities said the suspects were identified from security camera footage.
The four men, including Watson’s cab driver, were only identified by their aliases: Payaso, Garcho, Bavario and Fabián. Police said they were part of a theft ring known for forcing victims to empty their bank accounts at automatic teller machines, or what’s known in Colombia as the “ paseo millonario” or “millionaire’s ride.” From the beginning of the investigation, police said they suspected Watson was targeted for robbery and suggested he might have resisted.
At the time of his death, the DEA said it suspected theft — and not Watson’s line of work — led to his death.
President Juan Manuel Santos had made the investigation a priority, saying it was a black eye for Colombia’s image at a time when the murder rate is down.