Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Shocking Kidnapping and Assault of U.S. Soldiers in Bogota

Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Shocking Kidnapping and Assault of U.S. Soldiers in Bogota

Colombian National Admits Guilt in Shocking Kidnapping and Assault Case

In a startling turn of events, a Colombian national, Jeffersson Arango Castellanos, aged 36, entered a guilty plea today for his involvement in the kidnapping and assault of two U.S. Army soldiers temporarily stationed in Bogota, Colombia.

Details of the Disturbing Incident Unveiled in Court Documents

According to court documents, the incident occurred on the evening of March 5, 2020, when the two victims were in a Bogota entertainment district.

Arango and his co-conspirators targeted and incapacitated the soldiers by drugging their drinks with substances, including benzodiazepines, at a local pub.

Following the incapacitation, the victims were kidnapped, and their personal belongings, including wallets, debit cards, credit cards, and cell phones, were seized.

Exploitation of Victims’ Financial Resources

Arango and his co-conspirators went on to exploit the victims’ financial resources, using their credit cards for purchases and withdrawing money.

The victims remained unconscious until the following day, having been separated during the harrowing ordeal.

Guilty Plea to Multiple Charges

Jeffersson Arango Castellanos pleaded guilty to charges including kidnapping an internationally protected person, conspiracy to kidnap, assaulting an internationally protected person, and conspiracy to assault an internationally protected person.

A sentencing date is yet to be determined, with a federal district court judge tasked with considering sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Extradition and International Cooperation

Arango was extradited from Colombia to the United States in May 2023 based on a U.S. extradition request.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, along with the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section’s Judicial Attaché Office in Bogota and the U.S. Marshals Service, collaborated with Colombian law enforcement authorities to secure Arango’s arrest and extradition.

Official Announcement and Prosecution Team

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI Miami Field Office jointly made the announcement.

Trial Attorneys Clayton O’Connor and Elizabeth Nielsen of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertila L. Fernandez for the Southern District of Florida, are prosecuting the case.

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