In February 2003, Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, were taken hostage by the FARC when their U.S. airplane crashed in the Colombian jungle. As part of the hostage-taking conspiracy, the FARC and its conspirators murdered two other occupants of the airplane, American citizen Thomas Janis and Colombian national Sergeant Luis Alcides Cruz.
On October 19, 2003, Edgar Gustavo Navarro (aka, El Mocho), Commander of the Teofilo Forero Mobile Column (TFMC) of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was killed in a shootout with the Colombian Army. Navarro’s killing was made possible by three informants who, motivated by the possibility of a reward, led the Colombian soldiers to the TFMC camp where the confrontation took place. In April 2004, each informant was paid $300,000 for their assistance in providing information which led to the death of Edgar Navarro. Navarro was suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of three Americans mentioned above.
Since 1997, the U.S. Department of State has designated the FARC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The FARC seeks to oppose by force, violence and other criminal activity the nations, governments and individuals who do not share its views. Since at least the early 1960s, the FARC has been violently anti-American and has worked against the interests of the United States, saying in March 1998 that all U.S. officials are legitimate military targets. In addition to narcotics trafficking, the FARC targets through extortion, kidnapping and murder of U.S. citizens who work in, visit or do business in Colombia and neighboring countries.