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Press Release

Foreign National Extradited from Chile to the United States for Kidnapping and Assaulting U.S. Army Soldiers in Colombia

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Colombian national was extradited from Chile to the United States yesterday to face charges related to kidnapping and assaulting two U.S. Army soldiers who were on temporary duty in Bogota, Colombia.

Pedro Jose Silva Ochoa, also known as Tata, 47, of Bogota, will make his initial court appearance today at 1:30 p.m. in Miami, Florida, before Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

According to court documents, Silva Ochoa and his co-conspirators targeted, incapacitated, and kidnapped two U.S. soldiers in Bogota in order to rob them of their valuables. On the evening of March 5, 2020, the two victims went to an entertainment district in Bogota to watch a soccer game. They visited a pub, where one of Silva Ochoa’s co-conspirators incapacitated the two victims by putting drugs, including benzodiazepines, in their drinks. Silva Ochoa’s co-conspirators then escorted the victims into a waiting car driven by Silva Ochoa, kidnapped them, and took their wallets, debit cards, credit cards, and cell phones. Silva Ochoa and his co-conspirators used one victim’s credit card and the other victim’s debit card to make purchases and withdraw money. The two victims lost consciousness until the following day, by which point they had been separated.

Silva Ochoa is charged with kidnapping an internationally protected person, conspiracy to kidnap an internationally protected person, assaulting an internationally protected person, and conspiracy to assault an internationally protected person. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

One of Silva Ochoa’s co-defendants, Jeffersson Arango Castellanos, was extradited from Colombia to the United States in April 2023 and pleaded guilty in January to the charges in the indictment.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole A. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; 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 made the announcement.

The FBI is investigating the case and escorted Silva Ochoa from Chile to the United States. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the FBI Miami Field Office, the Office of the Legal Attaché Santiago, and the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section’s Judicial Attaché’s Office in Bogota provided significant assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Silva Ochoa. The United States also thanks Colombian and Chilean law enforcement authorities for their valuable assistance.

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

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 18, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-466