Colombians sentenced to prison for U.S. drug agent's murder

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 19, 2015 11:32 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Colombians have been sentenced to prison for the 2013 kidnapping and murder of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Bogota, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

Edwin Gerardo Figueroa Sepulveda, 39, was sentenced in federal court to 30 years for his role in the killing of DEA Special Agent James "Terry" Watson, the department said in a statement.

Wilson Daniel Peralta-Bocachica, 31, received a 40-month sentence during the hearing on Wednesday before Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria.

Figueroa Sepulveda had pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the murder and to conspiracy to kidnap. Peralta-Bocachica had pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, the statement said.

The men were among seven Colombians in a robbery-and-kidnapping ring extradited to the United States in July 2014 to face charges stemming from Watson's killing. The gang had been carrying out a "millionaire's ride," luring a victim into a taxi cab to be robbed, when Watson was killed.

One man attacked Watson, a 13-year DEA veteran, with a stun gun, and a second stabbed him with a knife.

The other men, Hector Leonardo López, 34; Julio Estiven Gracia Ramírez, 32; Andrés Álvaro Oviedo García, 22; Omar Fabián Valdes Gualtero, 28; and Édgar Javier Bello Murillo, 28, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting the murder.

In December, López was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Gracia Ramírez received a 27-year sentence, and Oviedo García was sentenced to 20 years.

Valdes Gualtero and Bello Murillo are scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, the statement said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)