UPDATE: 2 arrested in case released from jail - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

UPDATE: 2 arrested in case released from jail

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Source: Watson Family (James "Terry" Watson) Source: Watson Family (James "Terry" Watson)
Source: Watson Family (James "Terry" Watson) Source: Watson Family (James "Terry" Watson)
Source: Watson Family (James "Terry" Watson) Source: Watson Family (James "Terry" Watson)


BOGOTA, Colombia (KNOE 8 News/AP) - Defense attorneys say a Colombian court has freed two of the six men arrested in the death of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

Attorney Gildardo Acosta said Thursday that the court ruled that prosecutors failed to present adequate proof against the two taxi drivers, but he says they remain under investigation in the June 20 knifing of DEA agent James Watson, who was known as "Terry."

Angel Mauricio Pulgarin emerged from jail to hugs and kisses from relatives and demanded that his name be cleared.

The 43-year-old Watson was attacked in an apparent robbery attempt after getting into a taxi after leaving a restaurant.

Acosta says the two drivers deny being part of the gang and had come forward voluntarily.


RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Special Agent James "Terry" Watson has been laid to rest Wednesday. Watson is the federal worker killed in South America last week.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is touched by Watson's resume while serving as a federal criminal investigator.

"He served on the front lines of the fighting against gun, gangs, and drug fueled crimes," Holder said.

The Holly Ridge native has served three tours in Afghanistan alongside the DEA. He's been a member of the U.S. Marshall's. Watson is even a product of the Richland Parish Sheriff's Office.

"It wasn't the badge that made Special Agent Watson a hero, it was the way he lived. It was his devotion to family and his eagerness to serve with those around him," Holder said.

Many relatives along with DEA agents were brought to tears during the funeral as soon as a video played showing some pictures of Terry Watson's family and friends.

Watson leaves behind a wife and his parents. He also has hundreds of local law enforcement who are also bidding farewell to man that once worked with.

The head of the DEA Michele Leonhart is also saddened by this loss but believes Watson's work has made the agency stronger in fighting the war on drugs.

The federal leader also shared a moment of Watson's that made relatives smile.

"He decided to sail that boat down to San Juan, and he confessed that he really didn't know how to sail, at least not well," Leonhart said.

Watson was 43.


RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A line of cars made their way to Rayville High School Tuesday for a public viewing. The large turnout is for a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, who is from Richland Parish. His name is James Watson. Most friends and family know him as "Terry" and he is a man who left a mark on many lives.

"It was that drive, I can tell he was from Small Town USA," DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said. "Because his ethics, his character, he just was a very special agent to us."

Leonhart, the head of the DEA is not in Washington D.C., but in Richland Parish to bid farewell to the man she hired right after his academy training.

"He was really one of a kind, free spirit, just the best agent," Leonhart said. "I can say that because I was his first special agent in charge."

Sitting next to Leonhart Tuesday in a joint interview, is the second in command over the DEA, Thomas Harrigan.

"He dedicated his life to law enforcement," Harrigan said. "Not only to make the United States a better place, but Colombia a better place."

Watson was killed in South America last Thursday. Colombia police say he was stabbed in the chest which led to his death during a robbery. The feds are not stopping until several of the suspects, captured Tuesday are brought to justice in the a Federal courtroom.

"We knew that it'll just be a matter of time before we put the pieces together to find out what ruthless thugs did this," Leonhart said.

This parking lot is expected to be filled Wednesday morning with cars carrying more state troopers, federal agents, friends and family for the funeral.


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Colombia's president says authorities have arrested five men in the slaying of a U.S. anti-drug agent during a robbery.

President Juan Manuel Santos says the five men are alleged members of a gang that specializes in robberies. Authorities say two are taxi drivers.

Both Colombian and U.S. officials have said they believe that Drug Enforcement Administration agent James Watson was probably killed in a common robbery, not because of his law enforcement work.

Colombia's National Police director says Edgar Javier Bello is believed to be the man who stabbed the 43-year-old Watson on June 20 after he left a restaurant and got into a taxi.

Gen. Jose Roberto Leon said Tuesday that an informant will receive about $25,800 for information in the case.


CBS News has contacted KNOE 8 News with information that four suspects have been captured in connection with the murder of Terry Watson. The suspects were captured in Columbia.

BOGOTA, June 25 (Reuters) - Colombian police captured four members of a crime gang thought to be behind the death of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent James "Terry" Watson last week after a street robbery, police Chief General Jose Roberto Leon said on Tuesday.

The United States has sought the extradition of those involved in the killing, which was not connected to his work as a DEA agent, Leon said. More arrests are expected.

Special Agent Watson, a 13-year veteran of the DEA, caught a taxi outside a restaurant in Bogota's exclusive Parque de la 93 area late on Thursday. Two men entered the taxi as part of a robbery in which the taxi driver also participated. Watson was stabbed then escaped from the taxi and later died in hospital.

"These four people have red Interpol circles around their names and are sought for extradition for the murder of the DEA agent," Leon told reporters in Bogota.

"They tried to erase the evidence to avoid being detected. They removed the seats of the taxi in which the victim was transported and tried to sell them."

The buyers of the seats turned out to be investigators, Leon said. A bracelet was also found in the taxi, likely from another robbery. A bloody pair of trousers thought to belong to the driver of the taxi was seized as evidence, he said.

While most robberies in taxi cabs don't end in death, they are common in Bogota. Victims are taken on what is known as a "millionaire ride," in which passengers are driven to a spot where a driver's accomplices are waiting. The victims are then driven to cash machines where they are forced to withdraw money.

Surveillance video of the streets show a second taxi pulling up behind Watson's and two men exiting and entering the first.

Within seconds, Watson can be seen escaping the taxi and running from it, where witnesses say he collapsed and was taken to hospital.


Crime in Colombia has fallen sharply over the last decade in step with a U.S.-backed offensive against drug gangs, Marxist rebels and paramilitaries. The murder rate has dropped about 36 percent since 2003, the year after Santos' predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, took office on a pledge to improve security.

But poverty remains rife in Bogota and crime is one of the top concerns for its residents.

With the latest arrests, Colombian police have dismantled seven crime gangs that engage in millionaire rides this year, Leon said.

Watson was assigned to the DEA's office in the coastal city of Cartagena but on temporary duty in Bogota. He was deployed three times to Afghanistan on anti-narcotics missions and had served in the U.S. Army.


RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - United States Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to attend the funeral of a Richland Parish native killed in South America. Other national leaders and global workers are flying to Northeast Louisiana to say their final farewell to D.E.A Special Agent James "Terry" Watson.

Earlier Monday, in Bogota, Colombia, dozens stood around the body of the special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, 43-year-old "Terry" Watson.

He was working in South America as a criminal investigator.

Law enforcement say Watson was killed last week in South America during an attempted robbery. DEA Special Agent Terry Davis says Watson worked to help arrest those selling cocaine.

"Terry wanted to go where the biggest and baddest drug dealers were," Davis said.

Monday afternoon, the relatives of Watson are the first to greet honor guardsmen from Louisiana State police and Wildlife and Fisheries in Monroe.

Workers with the D.E.A is also there and some still on the grounds of South America.

"We will not surrender on the war on drugs and we will not surrender until those responsible for Special Agent Watson's death are captured and incarcerated," Davis said.

Federal and state workers spent the day escorting Watson's body back to the area where he grew up in Richland Parish.His body is now at a Rayville funeral home which is one of the last stops before he's laid to rest.

Many from around the globe are expected in Rayville to bid farewell to the federal worker.

"This is just a testament of how many lives Special Agent Watson touched," Davis said.

Locals are also getting the chance to say a final farewell to Watson Tuesday.

"Terry was a loving, wonderful caring person and family member of course," Davis said.

Watson previously served as a Richland Parish deputy and U.S. Marshall before working with the D.E.A.

A public memorial is scheduled for Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with funeral services happening Wednesday starting at 10 A.M. Both events are scheduled to happen at Rayville High School.


RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The body D.E.A Special Agent James "Terry" Watson is now back in the United States.

Watson's body arrived at Monroe Regional Airport Monday afternoon around 4 P.M. relatives were able to have a private moment with the body.

From there, shortly before 5 P.M., relatives along with honor guardsmen from Wildlife and Fisheries and Louisiana State Police escorted the body and relatives to Rayville.

A public memorial is scheduled for Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with funeral services happening Wednesday starting at 10 A.M. Both events are scheduled to happen at Rayville High School.  


RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The body of D.E.A Special Agent James "Terry" Watson is expected to return to the Monroe Regional Airport between 3 P.M. and 5 P.M. Monday afternoon.

There will be a procession to Rayville from Monroe. Louisiana State Police honor guards along with Wildlife and Fisheries honor guards will be there to help lead the body to Richland Parish.

Watson's body will be held at Brown and Holly Funeral Home, on 603 Francis Street in Rayville. 

Tuesday, there will be a public memorial scheduled for 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. at Rayville High School on Greer Road.

Wednesday, the body will be laid to rest. A funeral is scheduled at 10 A.M. also at Rayville High School.

D.E.A agents say it'll be held inside the Art Expo Center.


RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - D.E.A agents along with locals are preparing for a public memorial at Holly Ridge High School this week for James "Terry" Watson.

Workers are also scheduled to escort Watson's body from the Monroe Regional Airport to Richland Parish this week.

Previous story

RAYVILLE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The family of a DEA agent killed in South America are releasing more information about their loved one.

James "Terry" Watson was killed last week in Bogota, Colombia in, what police are calling, an attempted robbery. 

South American law enforcement say the federal worker was stabbed to death. Currently, they are looking for the criminals behind the murder. 

Meanwhile, Albert Paxton, who is serving as the spokesperson for the family sent a message to KNOE 8 News for locals to read:

Terry leaves behind the love of his life, Fadia Watson. Father, Paul Watson and wife Linda. Mother, Henrietta Watson and Billy Collins. Brother, Scott Watson and nephew Conner Watson. Grandmother, Pauline Watson. Step-Brother, Chris Mitchell, wife Chelsea, and their children Christian and Larkin.

James "Terry" Watson was born December 9, 1970 to Paul and Henrietta Watson of Holly Ridge, Louisiana. Terry had one older sibling, Paul "Scott" Watson. Terry lived in Holly Ridge with his family until he graduated high school. As a child, Terry enjoyed riding motorcycles as well as working on them with his brother. At an early age, Terry developed a strong work ethic working with his father in their family owned business. Terry enjoyed traveling, snow skiing, and running which he continued to enjoy all of his life. Terry's father said that he was "wide open all the time." He loved to ski, snowboard and mountain climb. Most children lack direction as to what they desire to be in life, but his parents recall Terry be interested in law enforcement as a young teenager. After graduating from Holly Ridge High School, Terry attended Northeast Louisiana University (NLU) where he obtained a degree in Criminal Justice. While pursing his degree, Terry was employed by the Richland Parish Sheriff's Office as a patrol officer and later as a narcotics investigator.

After graduation from NLU, Watson was hired by the US Marshall's Office and was assigned to Biloxi, Mississippi. After a two year tour with the Marshall's office, he achieved his lifelong goal and was hired by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). On Valentine's Day of this year, he married the love of his life, Fadia. He loved his job and he lived every day to the fullest. He accomplished all the goals he set in his life. Being a DEA Agent was a goal he achieved but he wasn't satisfied with just that. He volunteered to go to Afghanistan three times and he volunteered to serve in South America. Volunteering and taking those risks were part of his character and demonstrate the type of person he was.

When he came back to Richland Parish, he spent most of his time at his grandmother Pauline Watson's house. Pauline is the matriarch of the Watson family and was a very strong influence on Terry while he was growing up and contributed to the type of person he became.

Terry dedicated his life to serving the public and making the world a safer and better place. Terry never wasted a minute of his life and never took it for granted. We are sad that he is gone but are incredibly proud of his service and the type of person he was. We will always love him dearly.  

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