Bogotá, Colombia – Colombian police say they have now arrested seven people in the slaying of a U.S. anti-drug agent during a robbery.
Gen. Luis Eduardo Martínez, commander of Bogota's Metropolitan Police, said Tuesday that the seventh suspect is a taxi driver who was arrested the day before.
Colombian and U.S. officials have said they believe that Drug Enforcement Administration agent James Watson was killed in a common robbery, not because of his law enforcement work.
Watson, 43, who had been for the DEA in Colombia for a year and a half, had gone out to eat and watch the NBA finals game, said Michael McKinley, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia.
Watson died after being stabbed four times, according to Colombian authorities.
Watson was assigned to the DEA’s Cartagena office and was on temporary duty in Bogota. Americans investigators are taking part in the murder investigation.
Authorities say they believe the suspects belonged to a gang that forced taxi passengers to withdraw money from their bank accounts at automatic teller machines. They say an informant will receive about $25,800 for information in the case.
Local authorities have said the killing was a “paseo millonario,” or express kidnapping.
A common tactic in Colombia and other cities throughout Latin America, a “paseo millonario,” where victims are forced to use their ATM cards to empty their bank accounts. The assailant will target people driving expensive cars or leaving upscale neighborhoods for robbery.
In addition to serving in Colombia, Watson had served in Honolulu, Hawaii and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also served on three deployments to Afghanistan, conducting counter-narcotics missions as a member of DEA’s FAST program, according to the agency.
Prior to becoming a DEA agent, Watson worked for the U.S. Marshals Service and served in the United States Army.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.