WASHINGTON Seven Colombians have been extradited to the United States to face charges related to the 2013 murder of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
The seven arrived in the United States on Tuesday and made their initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday before Magistrate Judge Thomas Jones Jr, the department said in a statement.
The men are charged with killing DEA Special Agent James "Terry" Watson in June 2013 in Bogota, the Colombian capital, as part of a robbery-and-kidnapping ring.
“With the extradition of these suspects, we are one step closer to ensuring that justice is served for the kidnapping and murder of an American hero,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in the statement.
According to a grand jury indictment, Watson, a 13-year DEA veteran, was killed after he entered a taxi one of the defendants operated to help rob and kidnap victims.
One man attacked Watson in the cab with a stun gun and a second stabbed him with a knife, the statement said.
Six men - Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, 39; Omar Fabian Valdes Gualtero, 27; Edgar Javier Bello Murillo, 27; Hector Leonardo Lopez, 34; Julio Estiven Gracia Ramirez, 31; and Andrés Alvaro Oviedo-Garcia, 22 - were charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to kidnap.
Oviedo-Garcia also was charged with two counts of assault and Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica, 31, was charged for his suspected efforts to destroy evidence.
A detention hearing is scheduled for July 9 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bill Trott)