Suspected Colombian kidnappers and robbers made their first court appearance on Wednesday after being extradited to the U.S. to face federal charges for allegedly kidnapping and murdering Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent James Terry Watson, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The seven defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on July 18, 2013.
Six of the suspects -- 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 each, one count of kidnapping each, plus each suspect was charged with one count of conspiracy to kidnap.
The youngest suspect, Oviedo-Garcia, was also charged with two counts of assault.
The grand jury had also indicted 31-year-old Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica for alleged evidence tampering when he attempted to destroy evidence regarding Special Agent Watson's homicide.
Although the seven defendants arrived in the United States on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, they made their initial appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday.
According to the indictment, six of the suspects -- Figueroa, Valdes, Bello, Lopez, Gracia and Oviedo-Garcia -- were part of a kidnapping and robbery crime-ring that used taxi cabs in Bogotá, Colombia, to prey on victims once they hailed the taxis and entered the vehicles. At that point they were viciously attacked and robbed and then the victims were kidnapped.
The federal indictment claims that on June 20, 2013, while assigned to the U.S. Mission in Bogota, Colombia, Special Agent Watson got into a taxi cab being driven by one of the suspects. Special Agent Watson was then subdued by one of the kidnappers using a stun gun and another suspect armed with a knife stabbed Special Agent Watson, who died as a result of the stabbing.