President Juan Manuel Santos announced Thursday that he signed the order to extradite to the United States the seven Colombians accused of the June 2013 kidnapping and murder of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
Santos made the announcement in an interview with La FM radio, eight days after Colombia's Supreme Court authorized the extraditions after determining that James Terry Watson, the agent who was killed, was a protected person in the United States.
"I already signed it," the president responded to a question on the matter without making any further comment.
The measure affects Andres Alvaro Oviedo Garcia, Hector Leonardo Lopez, Julio Stiven Garcia Ramirez, Edgar Javier Bello Murillo, Wilson Daniel Peralta Bocachica, Omar Fabian Valdes Gualtero and Edwin Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, and now they just need to determine the date of the transfer. They will face charges in the Eastern District Court of Virginia.
Watson was killed on June 20, 2013, in a leisure area in northern Bogota by a gang of robbers who specialized in staging "millionaire" kidnappings, whereby they force their victim to remove money from ATMs.
The DEA agent took a taxi after leaving a restaurant and immediately members of the band tried to rob him, but Watson resisted, which led to a struggle in which he was stabbed several times and injured with electric shocks.
Although Watson managed to get out of the taxi alive, he died a few hours later at a Bogota hospital.
A few days later, the Colombian police identified and arrested the seven members of the gang and a U.S. federal grand jury in Virginia handed down indictments against them last July.