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Colombia arrests 4 suspects in death of DEA agent

Fernando Vergara / AP

Colombia's National Police Chief Gen. Jose Roberto Leon Riano, left, talks to the media as Metropolitan Police Commander Gen. Luis Martinez looks on at police headquarters in Bogota on Tuesday. Leon said that four male gang members were arrested in connection with the murder of Special Agent James "Terry" Watson, who was assigned to the DEA office in Cartagena.

Colombia's National Police announced Tuesday that four men have been arrested for the stabbing death of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent last week in what investigators believe was a robbery attempt gone wrong.

Authorities do not believe DEA agent James "Terry" Watson, who was stabbed to death Thursday after leaving a restaurant in Bogota, was killed because of his work. The men detained, according to a police statement, are thought to be part of a criminal network that specializes in robberies.

Colombian police believe Watson, 43, had been taken on what is called a "millionaire ride," where unwitting passengers hop in a taxi and are transported to a place where the driver's accomplices are waiting. They then are taken to ATMs, where the robbers force them to take out cash.

Two of the men arrested are taxi drivers, Colombian Police Chief Gen. Jose Roberto Leon said Tuesday. 

The United States has sought the extradition of the murder suspects, Colombian authorities said.

"The Drug Enforcement Administration is grateful for the outstanding work of the Colombian National Police, the Special Investigative Unit and the Attorney General's Office that led to the swift arrest of these suspects," the agency said in a statement.

Watson was on assignment in Cartagena, but was on temporary duty in Bogota at the time of his death, according to information released by the DEA. He served three tours in Afghanistan, conducting counter-narcotics missions as a member of the agency's FAST program. Before that, he worked for the U.S. Marshals and served in the Army.

"Terry was a brave and talented DEA Special Agent who served our agency for 13 years," DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement. "These are the worst days for anyone in law enforcement and we grieve Terry's loss."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.