Federal Prohibition Agent John Watson

Federal Prohibition Agent John Watson

United States Department of the Treasury - Internal Revenue Service - Prohibition Unit, U.S. Government

End of Watch Monday, May 2, 1921

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John Watson

On Saturday, April 30, 1921, Federal Prohibition Agent John Watson and and another agent were returning to El Paso, Texas, from Anthony, New Mexico, when they offered assistance to stalled motorists.

Agent Watson discovered a load of liquor in one of the cars and a gun fight erupted when he ordered the men arrested. Agent Watson was hit in the left lung while the other agent was hit in both arms and the chin.

Officers found a blood trail indicating at least one of the bootleggers was wounded. Empty rifle, shotgun and pistols shells were found at the scene.

Agent Waton's wife and sister-in-law stayed with him until he died on Monday, May 2, 1921 at 5:30 a.m. Agent Watson was a former Army captain and his body received a military honor guard to the train station. His wife and brother accompanied the body to Lebanon, Missouri, for burial.

Five men were apprehended and charged with Agent Watson's murder. He was the fourth prohibition agent killed in 1921 in El Paso area.


  • Age 30
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location New Mexico
  • Incident Date Saturday, April 30, 1921
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Apprehended

Most Recent Reflection

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Agent Watson,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but also when you served with the U.S. Army during WW I. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

May 2, 2021

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