Jay Bergman, the DEA's Andean Regional Director who will replace slain agent James Watson, looks at his glasses during a promotion ceremony for police in Bogota, Colombia, Friday. / Fernando Vergara, AP
RAYVILLE, La. (AP) - A DEA agent who died in an apparent robbery attempt in Colombia was a former law enforcement officer from Rayville who had once worked for the Richland Parish Sheriff's Office in north Louisiana.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a statement from Washington that Special Agent James "Terry" Watson was assigned to the DEA office in Cartagena, Colombia, but was on temporary assignment in Bogota when he was killed.
U.S. Ambassador Michael McKinley told Radio Caracol on Friday that the robbery attempt occurred after the anti-drug agent left a meeting with friends at a Bogota restaurant and got into a taxi. Col. Camilo Cabana of the National Police said that the taxi Watson was riding in was intercepted by another cab about three blocks from the restaurant. Two men got out and tried to pull the American out of the vehicle, stabbing him three times in the chest and once in the leg, Cabana said.
"He was a great friend and tremendous law officer," current Richland Parish Sheriff Lee Harrell said. "It's a terrible tragedy and a great loss for his family, friends and for the country."
The News-Star said that Watson also had served in Honolulu and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also served on three deployments to Afghanistan conducting dangerous counter-narcotics missions as a member of DEA's FAST program. Prior to his DEA service, Watson worked for the U.S. Marshals Service and served in the United States Army.
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