Stafford E. Beckett
February 21, 1890 to March 22, 1921
Stafford E. Beckett, an agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Border Department, was killed along with his partner, Agent Charles A. Wood, as they attempted to execute a search warrant on whiskey smugglers at the Shearman ranch in El Paso, Texas, near the U.S./Mexican border. Following a lead that 23 cases of liquor were to be sent across the Mexican border, Federal Prohibition Agents organized a raid during which the agents were killed. He was 31 years of age at the time of his death.
Local newspapers reported that in the prior two weeks before this incident there had been seven armed fights between Federal agents and border smugglers. The day before his death, Agent Beckett had killed a suspected Mexican bootlegger whose funeral drew a very large crowd. Agent Beckett had several years of Federal service, but had been a Federal Prohibition Agent in the Border Department for only one year. He had an excellent reputation as a law enforcement officer, receiving an official testimonial for meritorious service from Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson one week before his death.
Agent Beckett, a Nebraska native, began his Federal service in March 1916, as a temporary Mounted Watchman in El Paso, Texas, with the United States Immigration Service, which at the time was part of the Department of Labor. He and others were hired to deal with the spread of typhus by Mexican aliens along the border. Agent Beckett was cited as one of the best Mounted Watchman in the service. He was promoted to Immigrant Inspector in December 1918. Previously he had served in the Texas Rangers with Company B in Brownsville, Texas, and in Laredo territory. Agent Beckett, who made his home in El Paso, Texas, was survived by his wife of ten years, Rose Arfsten Beckett; an eight year old son, Robert; a six year old daughter, Dorothy; and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Williard F. Beckett.
Charles Archie Wood
1886 to March 22, 1921
Federal Prohibition Agent Charles A. Wood, U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Border Department, was killed on March 22, 1921, along with his partner, Agent Stafford E. Beckett, while attempting to execute a search warrant on whiskey smugglers at the Shearman ranch in E1 Paso, Texas, near the U.S./Mexican border. Following a lead that 23 cases of liquor were to be sent across the Mexican border, a Federal raid was organized, and unfortunately, both agents lost their lives. At the time, newspapers reported that in the two weeks prior to this incident there had been seven armed fights between Federal agents and border smugglers. Agent Wood was 35 years of age at the time of his death.
Agent Wood, better known as “Honest Arch Wood”, was the first Federal Narcotic Inspector stationed in Dallas, Texas, after the enactment of the Harrison Narcotic Law (PL-233) on December 17, 1914. A native of Abilene, Texas, he was reputed to be one of the most conscientious agents in the Federal service.
At the time of his death, Agent Wood was stationed in Dallas, Texas, as a Narcotics Agent working out of the San Antonio, Texas, Office of the Collector of Internal Revenue and had been in Federal service for 12 years. Agent Wood was the Chief in Charge of Prohibition Enforcement in the San Antonio District, which comprised sixty-eight counties. In 1915, Agent Wood was appointed the Revenue Agent in Charge for the enforcement of the Harrison Narcotic Law; in 1920, he was appointed Agent in Charge of the Prohibition Enforcement Forces in San Antonio; and, in October 1920, he was appointed Chief of Field Forces of the Combined Narcotics and Prohibition Agents in the Border Department for the State of Texas. Agent Wood was survived by his wife; a daughter, Elizabeth; his mother, Mrs. J. J. Wood of Abilene, Texas; three sisters; and four brothers. One of his brothers, Will S. Wood, was also a Federal prohibition agent who became Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics under Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger.
Joseph W. Floyd
1876 to May 17, 1922
Joseph W. Floyd was an agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue, who was killed in Houston, Texas, on May 17, 1922, while attempting to serve a search warrant. He was shot by a suspect as he was attempting to enter the garage of the suspect’s residence. He was 46 years of age at the time of his death. Newspaper accounts of the incident indicated that Agent Floyd’s weapon had not been fired and the search warrant was still in his pocket. Thousands of dollars worth of liquor, a quantity of drugs and several weapons, including two automatic pistols were seized during this operation.
Agent Floyd was appointed on November 18, 1921, as a Federal Prohibition Agent in Houston, Texas. He was born in Madisonville, Texas, and had lived in that city many years before moving to Houston. He was regarded as an officer of the highest caliber, intelligence and fearlessness. He was survived by his wife, Yetta Floyd; three daughters, Louisa, Jo, and Carmen Kathlyn; and one son, Joseph W. Floyd, Jr.
Bert S. Gregory
November 16, 1868 to October 25, 1922
Narcotics Inspector Bert S. Gregory died on October 25, 1922, from an accidental gunshot wound. Inspector Gregory was shot on October 24, 1922, when his weapon accidently discharged. He was 53 years of age at the time of his death.
On the day he was shot, Inspector Gregory and another colleague were conducting surveillance on an informer who was to make a purchase of narcotics with marked money provided by the Inspectors. Prior efforts to make the purchase had been unsuccessful and the two Inspectors decided that one of them would “shadow the informer”, while the other would leave the area for a while in order to allay suspicions. Inspector Gregory decided to visit a nearby hospital where his colleague, Inspector A.M. Sheets, was recuperating from a wound he received when he and Inspector Gregory were ambushed by narcotics suspects a month earlier on September 28, 1922. While at the hospital, Inspector Gregory’s gun fell and accidentally discharged, fatally wounding him. He died the following day.
Inspector Gregory’s courage, general intelligence, and adaptability for law enforcement earned him an appointment under the Harrison Narcotic Law. Previously, he had served as Deputy Sheriff of Iron County, Missouri, for several years and later was promoted to Sheriff. From 1899 to 1903, he held this position which had also been held by both his father and grandfather. In addition, Inspector Gregory also served as Deputy Sheriff of Madison County, Missouri, for approximately one year and the Deputy County Collector of Ironton, Missouri, from 1915 to 1917. After receiving an appointment under the Harrison Narcotics Act, he entered on duty as a Deputy Collector on January 1, 1918, and transferred to the Revenue Agent’s Office as an Internal Revenue Inspector on May 19, 1919.
Inspector Gregory was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and was survived by his wife, Mrs. Jessie Gregory. At the time of his death, Gregory was assigned to the Kansas City Division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue.
James T. Williams
April 18, 1899 to October 16, 1924
Known as “Jimmy”, Narcotic Agent James Thomas Williams, of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Prohibition Service, Department of Treasury, was shot and fatally wounded on October 16, 1924, in Chicago, Illinois. In a struggle with a suspect, Jimmy’s partner, Narcotic Agent George Howard, accidentally discharged his service revolver, striking Agent Williams in the head. This tragic incident is believed to have occurred on Agent Williams’ first assignment as a Narcotic Agent. He was 25 years of age at the time of his death.
Agent Williams was given a temporary appointment as a Narcotic Agent in September 1924, and was permanently appointed to the Bureau on October 6, 1924. He took the oath of office on October 13, 1924, three days before his death. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he had assisted narcotic agents for seven months in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was noted for his enthusiasm which included using his own money and automobile to further investigations.
Agent Williams was described by Will Gray Beach, U.S. Narcotic Agent in Charge, Chicago Division, as “a splendid young man, as clean as a hound’s tooth, capable, thorough and worth while (sic)”.
Agent Williams, originally from Indianapolis, attended Ben Davis High School. He was survived by his parents, Lee H. and Kate Williams, who ran a grocery store in Sterling Heights, Indiana, just West of Indianapolis; two brothers, Glenn and Bennett; and two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary.
Louis L. Marks
September 4, 1879 to October 24, 1924
Federal Narcotics Inspector Louis L. Marks of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Prohibition Service, Department of Treasury died of internal injuries in a bus accident near Monroe, Georgia, on October 24, 1924. Inspector Marks was en route to Athens, Georgia, on official business when the accident occurred. He was 45 years of age at the time of his death.
Inspector Marks was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Law degree and was employed by the Cincinnati Enquirer as a reporter for three years. Inspector Marks took the oath of office on July 18, 1921, in Tampa, Florida, served in the Minneapolis, Minnesota Division and on May 15, 1922, was assigned to Atlanta, Georgia. After receiving a promotion in March 1924, his supervisor remarked that he was A a good buyer, makes an excellent witness, has good knowledge of the law and regulations, and writes a very good report.
In July 1924, Inspector Marks was ordered to Washington, D.C. by L.G. Nutt, Head of the Narcotics Division for a special assignment lasting several weeks. Inspector Marks traveled widely either in an official capacity or privately. Inspector Marks was survived by his wife of just over a year, Jessie Setzer, of Statesville, North Carolina; two sisters Lillian Marks Harteveld and Edna Marks Shackelford; and a brother, Henry A. Marks.
James E. Brown
1892 to June 7, 1928
Narcotic Agent James E. Brown of the Bureau of Prohibition, U.S. Department of Treasury, was shot three times and killed near Isleton, California, on June 7, 1928, by a suspected Asian opium trafficker. He was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
Agent Brown, known as Jimmy, was born in North Platte, Nebraska, in 1892. He began his law enforcement career with the Reno, Nevada, Police Department and spent three years there before joining the Federal Government. During part of his career in Reno, he served as a motorcycle officer. Officer Brown took the Federal oath of office on June 28, 1920, in San Francisco and was assigned to the Pacific Narcotics Squad. He conducted noteworthy investigations in Alaska and Washington State. At the time of his death, he was in charge of the Narcotic Squad for Northern California.
A clever impersonator, Agent Brown’s most outstanding exploit involved a disguise as a Mexican woman. Agent Brown was described by his colleagues as being one of the most fearless of officers. He was affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Sacramento and San Francisco, where services were held in his honor.
Agent Brown was survived by his wife, May Edna; two children, James Jr. and Stanley; and his mother who lived in Denver, Colorado. Officer Brown was buried in Reno, Nevada.
James R. Kerrigan
March 9, 1888 – December 27, 1928
Federal narcotic agent James R. Kerrigan died December 27, 1928, from abdominal injuries sustained on September 28, 1928, when he fell eight feet into an areaway while conducting a raid on an opium den in Newark, New Jersey’s Chinatown. Agent Kerrigan continued to work after his fall but frequently complained of sudden pains. Three months later he checked into a hospital and it was decided that he should undergo an abdominal operation to relieve the ailment. Agent Kerrigan showed improvement after the operation but suffered a sudden relapse and died.
Agent Kerrigan was assigned to the New York City Narcotics office for the Bureau of Prohibition with the Department of Treasury. Agent Kerrigan’s fellow agents referred to him as “the cleverest narcotic investigator in the United States, one who had run down more big narcotic law offenders than any one else.” The raid in Newark in which Kerrigan sustained his injuries was one of six raids made that night and it resulted in the arrest of ten drug offenders.
Agent Kerrigan left behind a wife and two young sons. He was 40 years old at the time of his death.
John W. Crozier
June 18, 1898 to November 16, 1934
Agent John W. Crozier died from injuries received in an automobile accident. He was en route to Jacksonville, Florida, after attending Federal Court in Savannah, Georgia, when his Official Government Vehicle collided with an unlit tractor trailer that was obstructing the Atlantic Coastal Highway outside of Savannah, Georgia. A load of cord wood on the trailer crashed through the top of the car, fracturing his skull. He was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
Agent Crozier was a registered pharmacist in Georgia and Florida whose formal education included a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Prior to becoming a Federal Agent with the Treasury Department, he was employed with the Lane Drug Company in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1918 to 1919, Inspector Crozier served in the U.S. Medical Corps. From 1925 to 1926, Agent Crozier worked in the General Delivery Office of the Post Office Department in Poluietto, Florida. Agent Crozier was sworn in as a Narcotics Inspector on April 8, 1929, beginning his career in Jacksonville, Florida. Agent Crozier was also a member of the Masons and the American Legion.
Agent Crozier was a native of Fort Gaines, Georgia and was residing in Atlanta at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, Annie Willie; a brother, R.T. Crozier, Jr.; and his father, Dr. R. T. Crozier, a prominent physician in Fort Gaines.
February 11, 1898 to February 7, 1935
36 at the time of his death, Narcotic Inspector Spencer Stafford of the Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Department of Treasury, was shot and killed on February 7, 1935, in Post, Texas. Inspector Stafford was fatally wounded when Sheriff W. F. Cato fired at him with a machine gun as he exited a veterinary hospital. Charged with the murder were the Sheriff; his Deputy, Tom Morgan; and two local doctors, L. W. Kitchen, a veterinarian and V. A. Hartman, a physician. In addition, both doctors were charged with Federal narcotics violations.
Inspector Stafford, originally from Hudson, New York, joined the Internal Revenue Service’s Narcotics Bureau after graduating from pharmacy school. At the time of his death, he had been assigned to the Fort Worth, Texas, office for three years. His previous assignments included tours in offices in New York, Georgia, and Florida. Inspector Stafford was described by the Dallas District Attorney, Clyde O. Eastus as, “one of the best officers I ever knew.” Inspector Stafford’s killers were charged under a statute enacted in May 1934, making it a Federal offense to kill a Federal officer in the line of duty. This was believed to be the first time this statute was invoked. Inspector Stafford was survived by his wife, C. M. Stafford, who was described as his high school sweetheart; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Stafford; and a brother, Leveret Stafford.
Andrew P. Sanderson
November 20, 1890 to September 23, 1944
Agent Andrew P. Sanderson, of the U.S. Department Treasury, Bureau of Narcotics in Denver, Colorado, was killed on September 23, 1944, when a tire blowout caused his Official Government Vehicle to overturn. He was 53 years of age at the time of his death.
On September 9, 1944, the Commissioner of Narcotics requested that Agent Sanderson assist the U.S. Customs Service in a border opium smuggling investigation. When the accident occurred, Customs Agent Benjamin S. White and Agent Sanderson were en route to El Paso, Texas, after returning from California.
Agent Sanderson, a narcotics agent for 19 years, was born in Greece and became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He joined the Department of Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue as a Narcotic Agent on March 24, 1926, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1926, he transferred to the Kansas City, Missouri, Division of the Bureau of Narcotics until his assignment to Dallas, Texas, in 1940. In 1943, Agent Sanderson was transferred to the Denver Office.
Prior to joining the Federal Service, Agent Sanderson was a Criminal Investigator for County Attorney Boyd in Montezuma, Iowa, from 1923 to 1924. Subsequently, he was a Vault Watchman with the Wisconsin Trust Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 1924 to 1925, and an operator with American Telephone and Telegraph Service (AT&T) from 1925 to 1926.
Agent Sanderson was proficient in the Greek language as well as an accomplished fingerprint classifier specialist, having received a degree from the Foreign Print School. Agent Sanderson was survived by his wife, Olga Bertha Sanderson.
Ironically, Agent Sanderson was supervised by District Supervisor Anker M. Bangs, who would be killed in the line of duty six years and one day later, on September 24, 1950.
Anker M. Bangs
October 9, 1899 to September 24, 1950
Special Agent Anker Marius Bangs, Chief of the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Narcotics for the Twin Cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, was killed by an opium addict during an undercover operation on September 24, 1950. After supervising similar raids in Iowa and Nebraska, investigative information led him to an opium den in the Glendale Apartment Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he was killed. He was 50 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Bangs was born in Denmark and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He took the oath of office as a Narcotic Agent in San Francisco, California, on March 15, 1926. In addition to San Francisco, his career led him to assignments in New York, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Honolulu, Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis.
Agent Bangs was eulogized by many reporters from the Star Tribune Newspaper, who frequently worked with him, as an outstanding public servant who worked long hours. He was noted for his great devotion and courage and called one of the Treasury Department’s best narcotics agent. “He never asked a subordinate to undertake an assignment that he would not take on himself, “ co-workers said. Agent Bangs was survived by his wife, Louise Minnick Bangs.
Wilson Michael Shee
January 2, 1921 to December 12, 1957
On December 12, 1957, Narcotics Agent Wilson M. Shee, of the U.S. Department of Treasury, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was killed in San Francisco, California, by a drug addicted informant. He was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
Born in San Francisco, Agent Shee began his Federal career in 1941 with the Department of the Army as a laborer at the Navy Yard, Mare Island, California, and was later promoted to the position of clerk. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945. He joined the U.S. Treasury Narcotics Bureau as a Clerk-Interpreter in December 1949 and was quickly promoted to agent status. He was commended for his brilliant undercover work and Chinese language skills.
Although his demeanor was quiet, his competence was recognized throughout the narcotics service. In one important case, he posed as a New York narcotics wholesaler and arrested three Chinese traffickers attempting to smuggle $100,000 worth of opium into Alameda, California. For his fine work, the Treasury Department presented him a $500 merit award.
Agent Shee was survived by his wife, Evelyn May Wong Shee.
Mansel R. Burrell
September 23, 1944 to December 19, 1967
Federal Bureau of Narcotics Special Agent Mansel Ross Burrell was killed by drug traffickers on December 19, 1967, in Gary, Indiana, while working undercover in a heroin investigation. He was 23 years of age at the time of his death. Special Agent Burrell was the youngest federal narcotics agent ever to die in the line of duty.
Special Agent Burrell joined the U.S. Department of Treasury’s FBN in September 1966 and was assigned to the Chicago, Illinois, office. Prior to this, he attended Black Hawk Junior College, Moline, Illinois; Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri; and graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in math. He was survived by his parents, Willard and Mary Eugenia Ross Burrell; a brother, Edsel Willard Burrell; and a sister, Mrs. Ethel Bogguess.
November 26, 1931 to October 14, 1970
Special Agent Hector Jordan, a Supervisory Special Agent with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs died on October 14, 1970, in Chicago, Illinois, from injuries he received in an unprovoked attack by a roving gang of seven assailants. He was 38 years of age at the time of his death.
Adept at undercover work, Special Agent Jordan had been a patrolman and then a detective on the Aurora, Illinois, Police Department from 1956 until he became a Federal Bureau of Narcotics Special Agent in 1965 and after the consolidation in July 1968, a agent with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
During Special Agent Jordan’s career, he was recognized for superior performance and outstanding contributions to Federal drug law enforcement. Born in El Paso, Texas, he moved to Aurora, Illinois, in 1947, and graduated from East Senior High School, Aurora, Illinois, in 1952. He attended the Institute of Applied Science in Chicago, Illinois, studying criminalistics. Special Agent Jordan was survived by his wife, Ofelia; a daughter, Marsha Christin; his parents, Alfredo C. and Jessusita Escareno Jordan; a sister, Berta Jordan Maley; and a brother, Alfredo C. Jordan, Jr.
Gene A. Clifton
November 28, 1943 to November 19, 1971
Palo Alto, California Police Officer Gene A. Clifton died on November 19, 1971, as a result of injuries received on October 1 during a joint operation with DEAs predecessor agency, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Officer Clifton was fatally wounded when a team of officers attempted to serve a search warrant and a suspect fired a handgun through a door striking him in the abdomen. He was 27 years of age at the time of his death.
A four-year veteran of the Palo Alto Police Department, Officer Clifton was the department’s top marksman and had won numerous awards in state competitions. He was survived by his wife, Janice; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney A. Clifton; and two sisters, Alice Sturges and Jennilee McCloskey. The Palo Alto Police Department established a scholarship fund in Officer Clifton’s name.
January 3, 1947 to October 12, 1972
Special Agent Frank Tummillo, of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was killed during an undercover operation in New York City on October 12, 1972. He was 25 years of age at the time of his death.
Assigned to the New York Regional office, Special Agent Tummillo and his colleagues were conducting an undercover operation in a hotel room on Manhattan’s west side. He had just completed negotiations with traffickers to purchase 10 kilograms of cocaine. As part of the deal, Special Agent Tummillo showed the traffickers the $160,000 he was planning to use to purchase the cocaine.
After the two traffickers left the hotel room to allegedly get the cocaine, Special Agent Tummillo left the hotel room to meet with his fellow agents. He was ambushed by the traffickers and forced back into the room at gunpoint. One trafficker searched for the money, while the other held Agent Tummillo hostage. Unaware of Agent Tummillo’s situation, Group Supervisor Thomas Devine entered the hotel room and encountered the armed traffickers. Devine struggled with one of the gunmen and was shot. The second trafficker abruptly shot and killed Special Agent Tummillo. Surveillance agents killed the two traffickers as they tried to escape. Agent Devine was paralyzed as a result of his wounds and died ten years later from complications.
Special Agent Tummillo graduated from St. Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania, in 1968. During his four years with BNDD, he earned a reputation as a natural undercover agent in investigations involving major organized crime figures. He was also admired for his ability to present case details in court. Three days after Special Agent Tummillo’s death, President Richard M. Nixon acknowledged him in his weekly radio address, stating, “I met Frank Tummillo last February… at the White House. He was a fine young man—alert, dedicated, selfless.” Both Agents Tummillo and Devine were given BNDD’s highest honor, the Henry L. Manfredi Award, for their sacrifice and dedication to duty.
Special Agent Tummillo was to be married exactly a month after his death. He was survived by his parents, Samuel and Clara Tummillo; two sisters, Mary Ann Tummillo and Concetta Fletcher; and his fiancee, Carla Starita. In a letter to then Director John E. Ingersoll, Samuel Tummillo wrote, “Please believe me Mr. Ingersoll when I say that you lead a fine, dedicated group of men; and they were most comforting to my wife and me in the past few weeks. We are very proud that Frank was one of them.”
George F. White
May 1, 1941 to March 25, 1973
Special Agent Pilot George E White, of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, was killed on March 25, 1973, after his plane hit a power line near Tucson, Arizona. He was 31 years of age at the time of his death.
George White graduated from Utah State University in 1963, with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. Prior to joining the agency White was a decorated Air Force pilot who served eight years in Vietnam as a squadron leader and fighter pilot instructor. As Captain, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with 26 oak leaf clusters, and a Bronze Star. Special Agent White joined BNDD in January 1972, and after basic agent training in Washington, D.C., was assigned to the Tucson District Office. Special Agent White was recognized with a Special Achievement Award for his work on the notorious Dominguez Family of Sonora, Mexico.
Richard Heath, Jr.
September 30, 1936 to April 1, 1973
Special Agent in Charge Richard Heath, Jr., of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs , died on April 1, 1973 in Quito, Ecuador, from complications resulting from a gunshot wound he received during an undercover operation in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles on February 22, 1973. He was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
During the undercover buy, a drug trafficker and his armed bodyguard tried to rob Special Agent Heath. He shot the trafficker but was wounded in his thigh by the bodyguard. Tragically, medical personnel at the Aruban hospital mistook him for one of the traffickers and did not provide the proper medical attention Special Agent Heath required.
Special Agent Heath began his drug enforcement career in 1966 with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Houston, Texas. In 1968, Special Agent Heath transferred to San Diego and in 1972 was assigned to Ecuador. Most of Special Agent Heath’s career was spent working undercover drug operations.
After his death, Special Agent Heath was survived by his wife, Virginia; a son, Richard III; a daughter Suzanne; and his brother, DEA Special Agent in Charge Edward A. Heath, Retired.
June 26, 1945 to August 9, 1973
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Emir Benitez died August 9, 1973, at Broward County General Hospital from a gunshot wound he received during an undercover cocaine investigation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 28 years of age at the time of his death.
Prior to joining DEA, Special Agent Benitez enjoyed a very diverse career including a position as an army paratrooper in Korea. He had also worked as an operations crash fireman at a Key West Naval Air Station and, beginning in 1969, screened foreign mail for illegal drugs at the Bureau of Customs in Miami. He was so successful at finding marijuana that he received three awards for superior performance. In 1971, he was promoted to a Customs Patrol Officer and in 1973 was detailed to the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement. When DEA was created on July 1, 1973, in recognition of his outstanding work with ODALE, Special Agent Benitez was converted to the position of DEA Special Agent and assigned to the DEA Miami Task Force. He was survived by his wife, Debora and a daughter, Michelle Lynn.
October 19, 1941 to November 6, 1973
Detective Gerald Sawyer of the Los Angeles, California, Police Department, was killed on November 6, 1973, while working on a joint undercover investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Detective Sawyer was killed by a cocaine trafficker during an attempted robbery of a $144,000 flashroll. He was 32 years of age at the time of his death.
Known to friends and family as “Blackie”, Detective Sawyer, the son of a Whittier, California Police Officer, was the first Los Angeles Police Department undercover drug officer ever to be killed in the line of duty. Detective Sawyer was posthumously awarded the Department’s Medal of Valor. Detective Sawyer was survived by his wife, Rosella Sawyer.
Leslie S. Grosso
June 2, 1941 to May 21, 1974
Investigator Leslie S. Grosso of the New York State Police, was shot on May 20, 1974, during an undercover operation in New York City. He was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Joint Task Force. Investigator Grosso died of his wound the next day. He was 32 years of age at the time of his death.
Investigator Grosso, a twelve-year veteran of the New York State Police, had received numerous letters of commendation and awards, including the Journal-News Award, the Rockland County Police Honor Award, and, posthumously, the General Douglas MacArthur Award. He was survived by his parents, Doris and Edward J. Grosso; and two brothers, Gerard and Edward Grosso.
October 23, 1944 to August 5, 1974
Prior to joining DEA in March, 1974, Special Agent Nickolas Fragos was a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran who had been awarded a Silver Star, two Bronze stars, a Purple Heart and two Army commendation medals for his service as a medic. After serving his country in Vietnam, Special Agent Fragos returned to the Detroit, Michigan area where he earned Bachelor Degrees in political science and psychology at Wayne State University. He also served as a medical assistant with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
Special Agent Fragos was appointed to the position of Special Agent at the Detroit Regional Office in March 1974 and after completing basic agent training in Washington, D.C., was assigned to the Miami Regional Office on July 21, 1974. He was killed on August 5, 1974, his first day of work as a DEA Special Agent, when the DEA’s Miami Regional Office Building collapsed. He was 29 at the time of his death.
A subsequent investigation determined that the contractor who had constructed the building in the 1940’s had used inferior building materials which contributed to the collapse.
Mary M. Keehan
July 2, 1947 to August 5, 1974
Ms. Mary M. Keehan, secretary to the Acting Regional Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Regional Office died on August 5, 1974, as a result of the collapse of the Miami Regional Office building. She was 27 years of age at the time of her death.
Ms. Keehan began working for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in June of 1968 as a clerk-stenographer for the Office of Chief Counsel in Washington, D.C. She worked for the Office of Enforcement, the Office of Administration and the Office of the Deputy Director for Support Programs until 1974 when she became a secretary in the Domestic Investigations Division, State and Local Section. In March 1974, she received an outstanding performance evaluation and in July 1974, she transferred to the Miami Regional Office.
Seven DEA employees died in the collapse of the Miami Office at 10:22 a.m. on August 5. Investigators determined that poor construction materials significantly contributed to the collapse of the post-war structure.
Charles H. Mann
July 19, 1943 to August 5, 1974
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Charles H. Mann died on August 5, 1974, as a result of the collapse of the DEA Miami Regional Office building. He was 31 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Mann had joined the Miami Regional Office of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in April 1971. Prior to that, Special Agent Mann earned a bachelor’s degree in police science at Florida State University. He also completed a student internship as a Criminal Investigator for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. He then served with the U.S. Navy as a submarine quartermaster and submarine school instructor.
While working for DEA and its predecessor agency, Special Agent Mann worked overseas in Ankara, Turkey and was responsible for coordinating and assisting long-term international investigations with DEA offices in the United States and with counterparts overseas.
In May 1974 Special Agent Mann was reassigned to duty at the Miami Regional Office and reported there on the day the building collapsed. After the collapse, investigators concluded that the use of substandard building materials was the cause of this tragedy.
Anna Y. Mounger
June 1, 1950 to August 5, 1974
Ms. Anna Y. Mounger, a secretary at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Regional Office died on August 5, 1974, as a result of the collapse of the Miami Regional Office building. She was 24 years of age at the time of her death. The cause of the collapse was the use of inferior building materials used by the contractor who constructed the building shortly after World War II.
Ms. Mounger graduated from the University of Houston in Houston, Texas, in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education. Ms. Mounger began working as a secretary for the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement in Miami. In June 1973, she joined DEA’s predecessor agency, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs as a secretary and was responsible for assisting with the day to day support functions which are the key to successful enforcement operations. Ms. Mounger was planning on leaving the Drug Enforcement Administration at the end of the week to marry her fiancee, an officer in the Marine Corps.
Anna J. Pope
October 15, 1919 to August 5, 1974
Mrs. Anna J. Pope, a fiscal assistant at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Regional Office, died on August 5, 1974, as a result of the collapse of the Miami Regional Office building. She was 54 years of age at the time of her death.
Mrs. Pope began working for the Federal Government in 1958 and worked as a clerk typist, personnel clerk, and supply clerk at various military bases in New Jersey through 1968. She received Sustained Superior Performance Awards in 1962 and 1966. Mrs. Pope worked for the Miami Internal Revenue Service as a temporary taxpayer service clerk in January 1969, and was a full-time clerk-typist when she transferred to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in April 1970 as a fiscal clerk at the Miami Regional Office. In April 1971, she was promoted to fiscal assistant, and by 1974 had become a cashier in the disbursement office.
Subsequent investigations indicated that inferior building materials led to the building collapse. Seven DEA employees perished that day.
Martha D. Skeels
February 11, 1924 to August 5, 1974
Ms. Martha D. Skeels, a supervisory clerk-typist at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Regional Office, died on August 5, 1974, as a result of the collapse of the Miami Regional Office building. She was 50 years of age at the time of her death.
Ms. Skeels began working for the Miami Regional Office of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) in November 1972 as a supervisory word processor. Prior to joining BNDD, she was an accountant at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Montrose, New York, for two years, a contract accountant with the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., for fourteen years, and a secretary with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Coral Gables, Florida, for two years. She attended Duke University and the University of Virginia.
Ms. Skeels and six of her co-workers died in the collapse, which occured at 10:25 a.m. Following the collapse, investigators concluded that poor building materials were to blame for the tragedy.
Mary P. Sullivan
September 29, 1917 to August 5, 1974
Ms. Mary P. Sullivan, a clerk-typist at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Miami Regional Office, died on August 5, 1974, as a result of the collapse of the Miami Regional Office building. She was 56 years of age at the time of her death.
Ms. Sullivan began working for DEA in March 1974 as a transcriber clerk. An experienced secretary, she had worked at various offices in New York City for nearly 30 years prior to moving to Miami in 1970. Before joining DEA, she worked for the Miami Local Board of the Selective Service System for three years. While with DEA, Ms. Sullivan provided invaluable assistance to Special Agents in conducting their investigations.
The cause of the collapse that killed Ms. Sullivan and her colleagues was the use of inferior building materials by the contractor who constructed the structure in the 1940’s. Ms. Sullivan was survived by a sister, Dorothy Farrell.
Larry D. Wallace
January 3, 1943 to December 19, 1975
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Larry D. Wallace, of the Tokyo District Office, died December 19, 1975, at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Guam from gunshot wounds received during an undercover drug investigation. He was 32 years of age at the time of his death.
Assigned to the DEA office in Tokyo, Special Agent Wallace was on assignment in Guam working undercover on a group of heroin traffickers. Entrenching himself in the organization for three months, he planned to meet with Francisco Guerrero, the main target, one more time before a search warrant was to be executed at his residence.
Special Agent Wallace met the target in a dark parking lot and was informed by Guerrero that the heroin was stored in a home ten minutes away. At that time, Special Agent Wallace signaled Special Agent Frank A. Quintal and several Guam Police officials to arrest Guerrero. The suspect was handcuffed and placed in the vehicle with Agents Wallace and Quintal and then was driven in the direction of the home. En route, Guerrero was able to retrieve a concealed .38 caliber revolver and shot Special Agent Quintal twice. The second bullet went through Agent Quintal’s right arm and struck Special Agent Wallace in the head. Guerrero fired one more time, again striking Special Agent Quintal. Guererro was subsequently subdued by Special Agent Quintal. Special Agent Wallace died later that day at the hospital.
Special Agent Wallace joined the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in October 1970 as a Special Agent in the Seattle Regional Office. In 1974 he was assigned to the Tokyo District Office in Japan. Before joining DEA, Special Agent Wallace was in charge of a shipboard public affairs office in the Navy and taught English in Tokyo. Special Agent Wallace was also honored at a police memorial dedicated to all law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in Guam.
He was survived by two sons, Ken and Mori, and a loving wife, Ritsuko.
James T. Lunn
February 27, 1941 to May 14, 1976/span>
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent James T. Lunn, a pilot, assigned to the Office of Enforcement at DEA Headquarters, died on May 14, 1976, in a plane crash north of Acapulco during a flight in support of Mexico’s opium eradication program. He was 35 years of age at the time of his death. Special Agent Ralph N. Shaw, a passenger in the plane, was also killed in the crash.
Special Agent Lunn was an experienced pilot having graduated from Central Missouri State College with a degree in aviation technology. During the 1970’s DEA was working with the Mexican Government in an attempt to curtail opium production. As a DEA Special Agent and seasoned pilot, Special Agent Lunn supported this program, flying missions over the Mexican countryside searching for fields.
On May 14, 1976, Special Agent Ralph Shaw and Agent Lunn flew just north of Acapulco, Mexico when they suddenly realized that they had flown inadvertently into a box canyon at low altitude. In spite of all his experience and efforts, Special Agent Lunn was unable to maneuver the aircraft to prevent them from crashing into the ground. They both died instantly.
Special Agent Lunn had been assigned to the Kansas City Regional Office after joining the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in April 1972. He was transferred to the Office of Enforcement in April 1975, and assigned to the Domestic Investigations Division, Special Enforcement Programs.
Special Agent Lunn was survived by his wife, Mary and two sons, Larry and Mark.
Ralph N. Shaw
May 26, 1935 to May 14, 1976
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Ralph N. Shaw, of the Calexico, California District Office, died May 14, 1976, in a plane crash north of Acapulco during an operations flight in support of Mexico’s opium eradication program. He was 40 years of age at the time of his death. Special Agent James T. Lunn, who piloted the plane, was also killed in the crash.
During the 1970’s, DEA worked with the Mexican Government to curtail opium production in Mexico. It was commonplace for DEA agents to fly missions over the Mexican countryside searching for opium fields in support of the eradication program. During one such flight, Special Agents Lunn and Shaw realized that they had inadvertently flown into a box canyon at a low altitude. In spite of Agent Lunn’s best efforts, he was unable to maneuver the aircraft and prevent a crash. Both agents died instantly.
Prior to becoming a DEA Special Agent, Shaw was a Deputy Sheriff in San Bernandino County, California, and in 1962 became a border patrol inspector on the Mexican border with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. At the Border Patrol Academy he was a firearms and physical education instructor. In 1968, he transferred to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs where he served in offices in San Diego, San Francisco, and Calexico. He also served as a class counselor for DEA Basic Agent Class 5. Special Agent Shaw was survived by a brother, Wallace and a sister, Arlene Pfister.
April 3, 1938 to December 13, 1976
Drug Enforcement Administration Country Attache Octavio Gonzalez, who was in charge of DEA’s Office in Bogota, Colombia, was shot and killed in the office on December 13, 1976, by an informant. He was 38 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Gonzalez, assigned to the Bogota Office since March 1972, had been a Special Agent since January 1969 when he joined the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Previously, he had been a Police Officer in both Miami, Florida, and Kansas City, Missouri. A five-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Special Agent Gonzalez graduated from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton in 1968. A Miami Herald editorial described him as “a highly competent law enforcement officer with a worldwide reputation.” Special Agent Gonzalez was survived by his wife, Mariella; a son, Dennis and three daughters, Mariella, Sandra and Catherine.
Francis J. Miller
August 2, 1933 to March 5, 1977
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Francis J. Miller, a Group Supervisor at the Newark Division, was killed on March 5, 1977, in an automobile accident in New York, while on his way home from work. He was 43 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Miller began working for the Federal Government in 1964 as a Customs Investigator at the Port of New York. In 1966, he transferred to the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control, which later became part of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in 1968. In late 1969, he served briefly with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and in 1970 returned to BNDD. Special Agent Miller was promoted to Group Supervisor with DEA’s New York Division in 1973 and was assigned to the Newark Field Division later that year.
Robert C. Lightfoot
June 11, 1943 to November 23, 1977
After graduating from Tulane University, Special Agent Robert C. Lightfoot worked for the Agency for International Development in Vietnam and Thailand, and assisted the Thai Border Patrol Police before joining the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1974.
Agent Lightfoot was fluent in the Thai language and worked in DEA’s Chiang Mai Resident Office in northern Thailand. Later on, this experience assisted him greatly in his role as liaison between DEA’s Bangkok office and the Royal Thai Government.
In 1975, he was assigned to the Los Angeles Field Division where he worked in DEA’s first Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Group. In 1977, Special Agent Lightfoot was re-assigned to the DEA Bangkok Office. Three months after his arrival in Thailand, Special Agent Lightfoot was killed as a result of an accidental discharge of his firearm. He was 34 at the time of his death.
A school for the hearing impaired was established in his honor in Chiang Mai, Thailand and the school still bears his name. In addition to loving his career, Special Agent Lightfoot had an avid passion for tennis. While at Tulane, he played competitively on the collegiate team and continued to play regularly all his life. During his association with the sport, Special Agent Lightfoot had the pleasure of teaching actor Steve McQueen how to play tennis.
Thomas J. Devine
November 5, 1941 to September 25, 1982
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Thomas J. Devine, a Group Supervisor at the Newark Field Division, died on September 25, 1982, in Passaic, New Jersey of complications from gunshot wounds he received on October 12, 1972, during an undercover investigation in New York City. He was 40 years of age at the time of his death.
Prior to joining DEA, Special Agent Devine served with the Marine Corps Military Police, worked in the New York City area as a Security Officer for diamond merchants and then as an investigator for major law firms and corporations. In 1967, Devine joined the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) as a Treasury Agent and became a Special Agent in 1968, when FBN merged with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Special Agent Devine was promoted to Group Supervisor at the BNDD New York Regional Office in April 1972.
On October 12, 1972, Group Supervisor Devine was in charge of an undercover operation to purchase 10 kilos of cocaine from two traffickers. The undercover meeting took place in a hotel on the West side of Manhattan, utilizing Special Agent Frank Tummillo in the undercover role. Special Agent Tummillo had just completed negotiations with the traffickers, showing them $160,000 for the purchase. After seeing the money, the two traffickers allegedly left the hotel room, stating they would return with the cocaine. Shortly thereafter, as Special Agent Tummillo left the room, the traffickers forced him back into the hotel room at gunpoint. One trafficker searched for the money while the other held Special Agent Tummillo hostage.
Unaware of the situation, Group Supervisor Devine proceeded to the hotel room to meet with Frank Tummillo. As he entered the room, Agent Devine struggled with one of the traffickers and was shot. Special Agent Tummillo was shot and killed by the second gunman. The two traffickers were then killed by surveillance agents as they tried to escape.
Confined to a wheelchair by his injury, he continued to work for the next 10 years despite several illnesses and operations. In October 1974, he was promoted to Group Supervisor for Intelligence/Tactical Support at the New York Regional Office. He transferred to the Newark Office in October 1978, and remained on active duty until the day he died. Special Agent Devine had been awarded the Hank L. Manfredi award by President Nixon in 1973, in honor of his extraordinary contributions to law enforcement. He was survived by his wife Jean, and two sons, Thomas Jr. and Michael.
Special Agent Devine was part of a law enforcement family. His father, William Devine and his Uncle Thomas Devine were both detectives in the New York City Police Department.
Larry N. Carwell
August 5, 1944 to January 9, 1984
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Larry N. Carwell of the Houston District Office, died on January 9, 1984, in a helicopter crash during an operations flight near the Bahamas. He was 39 years of age at the time of his death.
During the 1980’s the Bahamas was a critical link in the cocaine smuggling chain that stretched from Colombia to the United States. DEA agents were assigned to the Caribbean in an effort to reduce drug trafficking activities in that area.
Special Agent Carwell joined the DEA in May 1974. During his 10 years in Houston, he was very active in drug prevention programs and had worked closely with Houston area sports teams to raise awareness about drug abuse. After his death, Special Agent Carwell received the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association’s Medal of Valor in October 1984 “for having performed his duty at a personal risk of life.”
February 24, 1948 to December 3, 1984
On December 3, 1984, Detective Marcellus Ward, of the Baltimore, Maryland, Police Department, was shot and killed while working on an undercover assignment. Detective Ward was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Baltimore District Office Task Force. He was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
Detective Ward was a thirteen-year decorated police department veteran. Detective Ward earned several commendations and in 1980 was nominated for Policeman of the Year. He also earned his second bronze star in 1980 for making 1,181 drug and robbery arrests. Detective Ward was survived by his wife, Sandra, and two children, Marcellus Jr. and Reginald.
Enrique S. Camarena
July 26, 1947 to March 5, 1985
Special Agent Enrique S. Camarena, of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Guadalajara, Mexico, Resident Office, was kidnapped and tortured by Mexican drug traffickers on February 7, 1985. It is believed that Special Agent Camerena’s death actually occurred on February 9. His body was discovered on March 5, 1985. He was 37 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Camarena joined DEA in June 1974 as an Agent with the Calexico, California District Office. He was assigned to the Fresno District Office in September 1977, and transferred to the Guadalajara Resident Office in July 1981. During his 11 years with DEA, he received two Sustained Superior Performance Awards, a Special Achievement Award and, posthumously, the Administrator’s Award of Honor, the highest award granted by DEA.
On the afternoon of his disappearance, Special Agent Camarena was en route to meet his wife for lunch. He was abducted by five assailants as he left the U.S. Consulate, one of whom identified himself as a Mexican law enforcement official. Special Agent Camarena was never seen alive again, and is believed to have been extensively tortured for two days before he died from a crushed skull. Major organized crime figures from Mexico, including Rafael Caro Quintero, Rueben Zuno Arce, Miguel Felix Gallardo, Humberto Alvarez Machain, Mario Verdugo and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo were arrested for Enrique Camarena’s torture and murder. This event had triggered Operation Leyenda, the largest homicide investigation that DEA had ever undertaken.
Prior to joining DEA, Special Agent Camarena served two years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He worked in Calexico as a fireman and then as a police investigator, and was a narcotics investigator for the Imperial County Sheriff Coroner. Special Agent Camarena was survived by his wife, Geneva and three children, Enrique, Daniel and Erik.
Special Agent Camarena’s death inspired millions of people around the world to lead drug-free lives. Each October, thousands of schools, communities and state and local drug abuse prevention organizations distribute red ribbons to honor Special Agent Camarena’s memory. The millions of Americans who wear these ribbons demonstrate visibly their commitment to this cause. DEA’s Miami Division hosts a golf tournament each year in memory of Special Agent Camarena. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund
James A. Avant
December 28, 1948 to July 24, 1986
Deputy Sheriff James A. Avant, Pulaski County, Arkansas, Sheriff’s Office, was killed on July 24, 1986, in a helicopter crash in Mount Ida, Arkansas. He was 37 years of age at the time of his death.
Deputy Sheriff Avant was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Task Force in Little Rock, Arkansas. Deputy Avant was participating in a DEA Marijuana Eradication Spotter School, when the helicopter in which he was riding crashed shortly after taking off on a marijuana eradication mission. Officers
Charles M. Bassing and Kevin L. Brosch also died as a result of the crash. The pilot and a DEA Special Agent were critically injured in the crash. Deputy Avant, a narcotics detective, joined the Pulaski County Sheriffs Office in 1985. Prior to joining the Sheriffs Office, he served with the Camden, Arkansas, Police Department and the Arkansas State Police. He was survived by his wife and three children.
Charles M. Bassing
July 21, 1953 to July 24, 1986
Criminal Investigator Bassing, Arkansas State Police, was killed on July 24, 1986, in a helicopter crash in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. He was 33 years of age at the time of his death.
Criminal Investigator Bassing was participating in a Drug Enforcement Administration Marijuana Eradication Spotter School, when the helicopter in which he was riding crashed shortly after taking off on a marijuana eradication mission. Officers James A. Avant and Kevin L. Brosch also died as a result of the crash. The pilot and a DEA Special Agent were also critically injured in the crash.
Criminal Investigator Bassing had been a member of the Arkansas State Police for nine months prior to his death. Criminal Investigator Bassing joined the Arkansas State Police in November 1985, and was immediately assigned to narcotics investigation. He was survived by his parents, Charlie and Doris Bassing, and his two children, Angelia Lynn and Joshua Michael.
Kevin L. Brosch
May 28, 1952 to July 24, 1986
Criminal Investigator Kevin L. Brosch, Jefferson County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Office, was killed on July 24, 1986, in a helicopter crash in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. He was 34 years of age at the time of his death.
Criminal Investigator Brosch was participating in a Drug Enforcement Administration Marijuana Eradication Spotter School, when the helicopter in which he was riding crashed shortly after taking off on a marijuana eradication mission. Officers James A. Avant and Charles M. Bassing also died as a result of the crash. The pilot and a DEA Special Agent were also critically injured in the crash.
Criminal Investigator Brosch had been a member of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for six years. He was assigned as a drug coordinator in the Criminal Investigation Division. Prior to joining the Sheriff’s Office, Brosch was assigned to the Pine Bluff Police Department. He was survived by his wife and two children.
Susan M. Hoefler
August 25, 1953 to August 16, 1986
Ms. Susan M. Hoefler, an office assistant at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Guadalajara, Mexico Resident Office, died on August 16, 1986, from injuries suffered in an automobile accident in Guadalajara. She was 32 years of age at the time of her death.
Ms. Hoefler began working at DEA Headquarters in May 1973, as a contract data analyst. She transferred to the DEA Regional Office in Mexico City in 1974, as a temporary clerk. She returned to Headquarters briefly in the summer of 1974, as a clerk-typist, but returned to Mexico City in a full-time position. She advanced quickly from clerk-typist to file and mail clerk and then in 1984, to Office Assistant at the Guadalajara Office.
Ms. Hoefler was a member of the Guadalajara staff that worked through the difficult times brought on by the kidnapping and murder of Special Agent Enrique Camarena in February 1985, and the abduction and torture of Special Agent Victor Cortez in August 1986, just three days before her death. She was survived by a daughter, Cristina Curiel and her parents, Marjorie and Charles Hoefler. Mrs. Marjorie Hoefler was also employed by DEA for approximately five years in the early 1970’s with assignments in Mexico City and DEA Headquarters.
July 8, 1956 to December 31, 1986
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent William Ramos of the McAllen District Office, was shot and killed on December 31, 1986. Special Agent Ramos was killed by a drug trafficking suspect while trying to make an arrest during an undercover investigation at Las Milpas, Texas, near the Mexican border. He was 30 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Ramos joined the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1985. Prior to becoming a DEA Special Agent, William Ramos was a U.S. Border Patrol Agent and an Assistant Prosecutor in Mojave, Arizona. Upon his graduation from the DEA Academy in 1985, Special Agent Ramos was assigned to the McAllen, Texas Resident Office.
On December 31, 1986, Special Agent Ramos posed as a drug trafficker and arranged to meet with known marijuana dealer Felipe Molina-Uribe at approximately 7:00 p.m. to purchase 300 pounds of marijuana. Special Agent Ramos and two informants met with the trafficker at a local supermarket parking lot in Las Milpas, Texas, a small suburb east of McAllen. Molina-Uribe was in Special Agent Ramos’ undercover vehicle when the DEA surveillance team observed the signal for the arrest of Molina-Uribe. In the seconds it took the arrest team to arrive at the undercover vehicle, a struggle ensued between Special Agent Ramos and Molina-Uribe. During the struggle, Molina-Uribe shot Special Agent Ramos once in the chest.
Special Agent Ramos died at McAllen Methodist Medical Center the same day. In 1988, the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association posthumously awarded Special Agent Ramos the Medal of Valor. Special Agent Ramos was survived by his wife, Thelma; and daughters Teresa, and Zarina.
Raymond J. Stastny
May 19, 1956 to January 26, 1987
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Raymond J. Stastny of the Atlanta Field Division, died on January 26, 1987, from gunshot wounds he received six days earlier, working an undercover operation in Atlanta. He was 30 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Stastny was a graduate of the State University of New York where he majored in criminal justice. He joined DEA in July 1980 as a Diversion Investigator at the New York District Office and became a Special Agent in November 1983 and transferred to the Atlanta Field Division. He worked on a number of investigations targeting cocaine and marijuana smuggling organizations. In September 1986, he earned a Sustained Superior Performance Award for his outstanding work investigating several major cocaine organizations.
Special Agent Stastny’s magnetic personality, keen sense of humor and exuberance for life are remembered by all who knew him. He often talked about his favorite New York sports teams whose progress he continued to follow despite his assignment to Atlanta. Special Agent Stastny was no stranger to the dangerous situations posed by drug traffickers. He and other agents had been shot at by marijuana traffickers in 1985. On January 20, 1987, Agent Stastny was working an undercover investigation in upscale Buckhead, a suburb of Atlanta. During negotiations with the defendant in a parking lot, the defendant inexplicably pulled out a weapon and shot Special Agent Stastny several times. He held on bravely, but finally succumbed to his wounds six days later. Agent Stastny was posthumously awarded the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association’s Medal of Honor. He was survived by his wife Valerie.
Arthur L. Cash
September 6, 1947 to August 25, 1987
Special Agent Arthur L. Cash graduated from West Virginia University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduating from college, Special Agent Cash served as a Border Patrol Agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Agent Cash joined DEA in 1974 and was transferred to the San Luis District Office in Arizona, and then to the Miami Field Division. In March 1987, he was assigned to open the Sierra Vista Post of Duty in Arizona.
On August 25, 1987, while assigned to the Sierra Vista office, Special Agent Cash was assisting Special Agent Larry Sproat in transporting three prisoners who had been arrested for importing marijuana. Special Agent Cash took custody of the three prisoners to transport them to Tucson, Arizona for their initial appearance with a U.S. Magistrate. While enroute to that meeting, Special Agent Cash’s vehicle struck a farmer’ s truck which had turned directly in front of him. Special Agent Cash was severely injured as a result of the impact, but he remained conscious. A medical evacuation airplane transported him to Tucson Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries later that day.
During his career, Special Agent Cash had been recognized for his hard work and dedication. In 1987 he received both the prestigious Administrator ‘s Award and a special award for his work on a major methamphetamine conspiracy. In December 1996, in honor of Special Agent Cash’s dedication to duty and his ultimate sacrifice to his country, the DEA Yuma Resident Office Building was dedicated in his name.
Special Agent Cash was survived by his wife, Catherine; and daughters, Amanda and Hannah.
Terry W. McNett
November 4, 1951 to February 2, 1988
Detective Terry W. McNett, Sedgwick County, Kansas Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed on February 2, 1988, while participating in the execution of a search warrant in Wichita, Kansas. Detective McNett was assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force at the time of his death. He was 36 years of age.
Detective McNett was survived by his wife, Cynthia; son, Vincent and daughter, Melinda.
George M. Montoya
December 14, 1953 to February 5, 1988
George Montoya began his law enforcement career with the U.S. Border Patrol after graduating from California State University in Long Beach, California in 1976, with a degree in Criminal Justice. He joined the Immigration and Naturalization Service in January 1979 and worked as a Border Patrol Agent in Campo, California, until August 1983 when he became a Criminal Investigator in Los Angeles. He became a Special Agent with DEA in September 1987 and was assigned to the Los Angeles Field Division.
His first assignment in that Division was Group 4, the Asian Heroin Enforcement Group. Although Special Agent Montoya had only been with DEA a short time, he had a reputation as a keen and thorough investigator.
On February 5, 1988, Special Agent Montoya was one of three undercover agents negotiating with a Taiwanese criminal group to purchase Southeast Asian heroin for $80,000. The agents met with the trafficker and went with him at his request to a quiet Pasadena neighborhood to pick up two pounds of heroin. Unbeknownst to Special Agent Montoya and his fellow undercover agents, the traffickers had planned all along to rob and kill them for the $80,000. Special Agents Montoya and Paul Seema were shot and killed in an ambush doing the job they both loved so well. George Montoya was 34 at the time of his death.
While training in Quantico as part of Basic Agent Class 57, Special Agent Montoya was seen as a mentor by his fellow classmates. His easy-going personality and methodical investigative skills made him a quiet but effective leader when younger agents sought his help during training.
Special Agent Montoya was survived by his parents John and Margie Montoya.Each year proceeds from the Paul Seema-George Montoya Golf Tournament are donated to DEA’s Survivors Benefit Fund.
Paul S. Seema
February 7, 1936 to February 6, 1988
Special Agent Paul S. Seema of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division Office died on February 6, 1988, of gunshot wounds he received the previous day during an undercover operation in Los Angeles. He was 51 years of age at the time of his death. Special Agent George M. Montoya was killed on February 5, in the same undercover operation.
Special Agent Seema, a quiet gentleman, was a native of Thailand. He began his career working intelligence for the United States military in Southeast Asia and in 1976, after joining DEA, he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Thailand. While serving with DEA in Bangkok he gathered intelligence on international narcotics organizations and worked with Thai police officials and DEA agents in the United States to dismantle heroin trafficking groups that posed such a serious threat to America.
On February 5, 1988 Special Agent Seema was one of three undercover agents negotiating with a Taiwanese criminal group to purchase two pounds of Southeast Asian heroin for $80,000. He and his partners met the trafficker and went with him to a quiet Pasadena neighborhood to pick up the heroin. Special Agent Seema did not know that the traffickers had planned to rob and kill him and his partners for the money. They were ambushed and Special Agent Seema died the following day, one day after his partner George Montoya passed away from gunshot wounds.
Special Agent Seema was loved by his associates who remember his ability to make people laugh and look past the horrors of the drug world. In 1988 Special Agent Seema was posthumously awarded the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association’s Medal of Valor. Special Agent Seema was survived by his wife, Joy; two sons Jayson and Santi; and a brother Whitney Seema. Each year proceeds from the Paul Seema-George Montoya Golf Tournament are donated to DEA’s Survivors Benefit Fund.
Everett E. Hatcher
October 9, 1942 to February 28, 1989
Special Agent Everett E. Hatcher of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division, was shot and killed on February 28, 1989, during an undercover investigation on Staten Island in New York City. He was 46 years of age at the time of his death.
The main target of the investigation was Gerard A Gerry-Chilli. A close associate and member of Chilli’s crew was Costabile A Gus-Farace. Farace was dealing illegal narcotics and had an extensive criminal background that included a conviction for murder. On February 28, 1989 at approximately 9:00 p.m. Special Agent Hatcher met Farace on Staten Island to discuss the purchase of several ounces of cocaine. This was the third meeting between the two. During their meeting, without any warning, Farace shot Special Agent Hatcher several times with a .357 Magnum handgun, killing him.
Assisted by law enforcement agencies in the New York City area, DEA instantly spearheaded a massive manhunt in an attempt to apprehend Farace. The search ended on November 18, 1989 when Farace was found shot to death on the streets of Bensonhurst Brooklyn, murdered by members of his own organized crime family.
Special Agent Hatcher became a DEA Special Agent in January 1977 at the New York Regional Office. During his twelve years with DEA, he worked in a variety of investigative assignments throughout the New York Field Division for which he received Special Achievement Awards in 1982 and 1983. He also served as a firearms instructor and a recruiting officer. In 1987, he received a third Special Achievement Award for his efforts with DEA’s agent recruiting program.
Prior to joining DEA, Hatcher spent six years in Germany as an Army Deputy Provost Marshal and physical education teacher at a U.S. military dependents high school. He returned to New York in 1975 to teach in New York City schools. He was working for the New York District Attorney as an investigator when he was accepted as a Special Agent with DEA. Special Agent Hatcher was an experienced teacher who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1968, a Master of Education degree from Boston College with high honors in 1974, and had completed advanced graduate studies at Boston College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Special Agent Hatcher was survived by his wife Mary Jane and two sons, Zachary and Joshua. The New York Field Division sponsors an annual golf tournament in honor of Special Agent Hatcher. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund.
Rickie C. Finley
September 19, 1952 to May 20, 1989
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Rickie C. Finley was killed on May 20, 1989, in a plane crash as he was returning from a jungle operation to a base camp in Lima, Peru. He was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
For almost seven years, Special Agent Finley had proudly served as a North Little Rock, Arkansas Police officer after graduating from Arkansas State University. Rick Finley had a friendly, outgoing personality that endeared him to all who knew him. In 1984, he became a DEA Special Agent and was assigned to Detroit. For five years, he worked on a variety of cases and established himself as a methodical criminal investigator. Special Agent Finley was the case agent on a $5.4 million cash seizure, the largest in Michigan history.
During his five years with DEA, Special Agent Finley received two Sustained Superior Performance Awards, in July 1987, for his work with the Detroit Field Division and again in August 1988, for his work with Operation Snowcap, a cocaine suppression program in Peru.
He volunteered for Operation Snowcap in 1988 and again in 1989. During his second Snowcap tour on May 20, 1989, after a day of field operations, he was scheduled to return to base camp on a plane that had a pressurized cabin. He gave his seat on that plane to another agent who had ear problems, and took his place on another aircraft which crashed into the side of a mountain 65 miles from base camp in Tingo Maria, Peru.
The DEA office building in Detroit is named in his honor and an annual barbecue and golf tournament are held in his memory all proceeds to the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund. He was survived by his parents, Drexel and Grace Finley, and his sister, Sheila.
Joseph T. Aversa
November 6, 1958 to March 5, 1990
Criminal Investigator Joseph Aversa of the New York State Police, was shot to death on March 5, 1990, while serving on the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force. He was 31 years of age at the time of his death.
Investigator Aversa was conducting surveillance of undercover negotiations during a cocaine investigation, when the drug dealers fired at the undercover officer. Investigator Aversa led other task force members to the scene and was fatally wounded during an exchange of gunfire with the drug traffickers. Two other task force members were injured in this incident.
Investigator Aversa joined the New York State Police in March 1984. During his tenure, he received several letters of commendation and posthumously, the New York State Police Award of Valor.
Investigator Aversa was survived by his wife, Eileen Aversa; his parents Vincent, Sr. and Doris Aversa; and a brother, Vincent E. Aversa Jr.
Wallie Howard Jr.
April 23, 1959 to October 30, 1990
Police investigator Wallie Howard Jr., of the Syracuse, New York Police Department, was killed on October 30, 1990, while serving on the Central New York Drug Enforcement Task Force. Officer Howard was shot during an undercover operation when drug traffickers from Brooklyn, New York, attempted to rob him of $42,000 he had for the purchase of two kilograms of cocaine. He was 31 years of age at the time of his death. Investigator Howard was a nine-year veteran and was the recipient of three bureau commendations as a result of several undercover drug investigations. In honor of Howard’s outstanding work in drug investigations, a “WALLIE HOWARD MEDAL” was created and is awarded annually at the Syracuse Police Medal Awards ceremony. Investigator Howard was survived by his wife, Cynthia
Eugene T. McCarthy
May 5, 1955 to February 2, 1991
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent and Pilot Eugene T. McCarthy was killed February 2, 1991, in a helicopter accident in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War. He was 35 years of age at the time of his death.
Before joining DEA in August 1988, McCarthy graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, spent eleven years in the U.S. Marine Corps as both an instructor and helicopter pilot, and was a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. As a DEA basic agent, he graduated first in his training class and was voted “outstanding student” by the DEA training class. His first DEA assignment was with the Narcotics Task Force at the San Diego Field Division. Most of his time in DEA was spent with Operation Snowcap, beginning in April 1990. He was on a second Snowcap tour in November 1990, when he was called to active duty in the Persian Gulf War.
On the night of February 2, 1991, while flying his Cobra attack helicopter at low altitudes during a rescue mission in Saudi Arabia, Special Agent McCarthy’s helicopter crashed into a sand dune, Both he and his copilot were killed.
Special Agent McCarthy was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McCarthy, one sister and a brother who is a Special Agent with the U.S. Customs Service.
Alan H. Winn
July 4, 1954 to August 13, 1991
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent/Pilot Alan H. Winn, 37, was killed August 13, 1991, in a helicopter crash during an operations flight over the island of Hawaii.
Special Agent Winn graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications. While in the Marine Corps, he trained as a helicopter pilot. In 1985, Special Agent Winn joined the San Diego, California, Police Department as a patrolman and also earned a Master of Science degree in Forensic Science from National University in San Diego. He joined DEA in February 1987 and was Class Representative of Basic Agent Training Class 48. He was then assigned to the San Diego Field Division and in July 1987, was transferred to a Task Force group in the Phoenix Field Division. In April 1988, Special Agent Winn received a Sustained Superior Performance Award.
In July 1990, he joined the Phoenix Aviation Section and in April 1991, was reassigned to DEA’s Aviation Section at Hilo, Hawaii. On August 13, 1991, Special Agent Winn was performing a routine marijuana spotting mission flight as part of DEA’ s marijuana eradication program. During the course of that day’ s mission, Special Agent Winn’ s helicopter suffered an engine malfunction causing the crash.
Special Agent Winn was survived by his wife, Kristy, and two daughters, Whitney and Lauren.
pril 9, 1964 to May 28, 1992
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent G. Douglas Althouse was killed on May 28, 1992, during an attempted car theft in Shelby County, Alabama. He was 28 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Althouse was on duty with Jefferson County, Alabama Deputy Sheriff Naylor Braswello when the two stopped at a convenience store. Deputy Braswello entered the store to make a phone call. Special Agent Althouse remained in the vehicle, unaware that four local car thieves intended to steal his Z-28 Camaro. While he sat in the passenger side, one of the armed thieves approached Agent Althouse from the rear. The assailant then ordered Agent Althouse to get out of the vehicle. As he was exiting, he was shot twice. As the suspect attempted to flee with the car, Special Agent Althouse fired his duty weapon. Special Agent Althouse died at the scene.
His assailant was charged with murder in both the state and federal systems. He was ultimately convicted in both courts and received the death penalty in the State of Alabama and life without parole in the federal venue.
Special Agent Althouse graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in May 1988, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Special Agent Althouse worked as a police officer for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department in Franklin, Tennessee until February 1990. He was named “Rookie of the Year” by the Sheriff’s Department in 1988. Following graduation from DEA’s Basic Agent Class 73 in 1990, Special Agent Althouse was assigned to the Nashville Resident Office and in November 1990, was transferred to the Birmingham Resident Office. Special Agent Althouse was an aggressive investigator and an effective leader during his eighteen months in Birmingham. He was designated a team leader of Birmingham’s new Provisional DEA State and Local Task Force and was training State and local police in Federal law enforcement procedures. He was survived by his wife; Christie, his parents; George and Thea and a Sister; Dana.
Becky L. Dwojeski
June 23, 1959 to October 21, 1993
After graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in law enforcement, Special Agent Becky Dwojeski joined the Federal Bureau of Investigations for a brief period of time in an administrative position. Her lifelong dream was to become a Federal Agent and she fulfilled that dream when she entered DEA in that capacity in March, 1981.
Special Agent Dwojeski was initially assigned to the Newark Field Division, a tough challenge for any DEA agent, let alone a recent college graduate. Self-reliant, determined, hard-working and liking nothing better than a challenge, Special Agent Dwojeski soon developed into a first-rate agent who was quickly recognized for her contributions to numerous major investigations. Newark’s cases targeted the biggest and most dangerous criminal organizations run by traditional mob families from New York and Newark, as well as new groups from South America.
While in Newark, she was recognized for her participation in the Southern Comfort and Vanegas investigations. Because Special Agent Dwojeski embodied the best qualities that DEA sought in new agents, she also served as a Special Agent recruiter.
In February 1991, Special Agent Dwojeski was transferred to the Office of Training and later to International Training. She coordinated one of the first training teams to teach in China and also taught in Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, and Ecuador.
Tragically, on October 21, 1993, Becky lost her life in an automobile accident on the Quantico Marine Corps Base when a logging truck ran her off the road and lost its load of timber on top of her vehicle. She was only 34 at the time of her death, and she is deeply missed by the friends she made in her too-short career.
Special Agent Dwojeski was survived by her parents; Mr. Leo Dwojeski and Mrs. Rosemary Gallowy. A scholarship fund was established in her honor at her alma mater Kenwood High School in Baltimore County, Maryland.
Stephen J. Strehl
April 9, 1958 to November 19, 1993
Detective Stephen J. Strehl, a St. Louis, Missouri, Police Officer, was killed in a helicopter crash on November 19, 1993, while conducting a surveillance mission of a suspected indoor marijuana grow site. Strehl was assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force at the time of his death. He was 35 years of age.
The DEA pilot, Special Agent Hawthorne I. Lee, suffered severe head and leg injuries as a result of the crash. Officer Strehl was survived by his wife, Kathryn, and three sons, Stephen, Sean, and Joseph.
Richard E. Fass
December 18, 1956 to June 30, 1994
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Richard E. Fass was fatally shot on June 30, 1994, during an undercover methamphetamine investigation in Glendale, Arizona. He was 37 years of age at the time of his death.
Prior to joining DEA in May 1987, Special Agent Fass, a native of Tucson, earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration with a major in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Arizona. He was a probation officer with the Pima County Juvenile Court and then served as a Revenue Officer with the Internal Revenue Service for two years. At the time of his death, Special Agent Fass was assigned to the Phoenix Field Division and also served on temporary assignments in South America and the Caribbean.
Earlier, on the day Special Agent Fass was killed, colleagues in the Phoenix Field Division honored him with a farewell luncheon, to say good-bye and wish him well on his next assignment, at the Monterrey, Mexico Resident Office. At the luncheon, Special Agent Fass was presented with a plaque inscribed with the words of Theodore Roosevelt, words that described the hero Fass would become: “…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
Special Agent Fass was eulogized as a “brave, caring man…willing to give his life for the peace of others…He wanted to do his best for his church, his family and his community.” Special Agent Fass was survived by his wife, Theresa, and four children, Raymond, Melissa, Lilia, and Angela; his parents, George and Rose Fass; and two brothers, George and William Fass.
Frank Fernandez, Jr.
August 1, 1956 to August 27, 1994
Frank Fernandez, Jr. was one of five Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents killed on August 27, 1994, in a plane crash during a reconnaissance mission near Santa Lucia, Peru. This mission was being flown as part of Operation Snowcap, DEA’s cocaine suppression program in Latin America. He was 38 years of age at the time of his death.
At the time of his death, Special Agent Fernandez was assigned to the DEA Headquarters Drug Suppression Unit. He began his service with DEA in the New York Field Division in 1980. During his career, he also served in Monterrey, Mexico; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and San Diego, California. Special Agent Fernandez was a 1979 graduate of the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York. Special Agent Fernandez was survived by his mother, Sonia Fuentes and his father, Francisco Fernandez, his stepfather, Alejandro Chevas and a brother, Alfredo Fernandez. Special Agent Fernandez was posthumously awarded the DEA Administrator’s Award of Honor on May 17, 1995.
Jay W. Seale
March 9, 1963 to August 27, 1994
Jay W. Seale was one of five Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents killed August 27, 1994, in a plane crash during a reconnaissance mission near Santa Lucia, Peru. This mission was being flown as part of Operation Snowcap, DEA’s cocaine suppression program in Latin America. He was 31 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Seale began his service with DEA in the New Orleans Office in 1991 and later that year was assigned to the Los Angeles Office. Prior to joining DEA, Seale served in the U.S. Army from 1984-1988, where he attended the Noncommissioned Officer Academy in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Special Agent Seale graduated from Louisiana Technical University in Ruston, Louisiana, in 1990. He was survived by his mother, Frances Seale; his father, John T. Seale and his brother, John B. Seale. Special Agent Seale was posthumously awarded the DEA Administrator’s Award of Honor on May 17, 1995.
August 12, 1961 to August 27, 1994
Meredith Thompson was one of five Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents killed August 27, 1994, in a plane crash during a reconnaissance mission near Santa Lucia, Peru. This mission was being flown as part of Operation Snowcap, DEA’s cocaine suppression program in Latin America. She was 33 years of age at the time of her death.
Special Agent Thompson joined DEA in the Atlanta Field Division in 1985 and was assigned to the Columbia, South Carolina, Resident Office. In 1986, Special Agent Thompson transferred to the Miami Field Division and volunteered for three Operation Snowcap tours, two in Bolivia and her last assignment in Peru. Special Agent Thompson graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and completed one year of postgraduate work in Criminal Justice. Special Agent Thompson was characterized as a tireless worker-innovative, motivated and organized. Throughout her career, she received numerous letters of appreciation and commendation from both within and outside DEA. Her supervisor wrote of her performance as a basic agent class counselor: “She is an excellent role model and through her demonstrated expertise, tact, and devotion, instilled within each trainee a sense of purpose, direction, and pride in DEA.”
Special Agent Thompson was survived by her parents, Adelaide and Jack Thompson; three sisters, Kimberly, Elizabeth, and Diane; and one brother, Doug. Special Agent Thompson was posthumously awarded the DEA Administrator’s Award of Honor on May 17, 1995. A scholarship fund in her name has been established at the University of South Carolina and an annual fundraising golf tournament at DEA Headquarters is played in her honor. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund.
Juan C. Vars
January 6, 1962 to August 27, 1994
Juan C. Vars was one of five Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents killed August 27, 1994, in a plane crash during a reconnaissance mission near Santa Lucia, Peru. This mission was being flown as part of Operation Snowcap, DEA’s cocaine suppression program in Latin America. He was 32 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Vars joined DEA’s Dallas Field Division in 1987 and served in the Chicago Field Division before returning to Dallas in 1988. After becoming a DEA pilot in 1990, Special Agent Vars was reassigned to the San Antonio District Office in 1991. Special Agent Vars graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute, and the University of Texas, where he received degrees in Political Science and Spanish. He was survived by his parents, Ana and William Vars and his fiancee. Special Agent Vars was posthumously awarded the DEA Administrator’s Award of Honor on May 17, 1995.
Frank S. Wallace, Jr.
August 5, 1957 to August 27, 199
Frank S. Wallace, Jr. was one of five Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents killed August 27, 1994, in a plane crash during a reconnaissance mission near Santa Lucia, Peru. This mission was being flown as part of Operation Snowcap, DEA’s cocaine suppression program in Latin America. He was 37 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Wallace began his Federal service with DEA in the Miami Field Division in 1983. Later he was assigned to the Houston Field Division and the Aviation Unit. Prior to joining DEA, Special Agent Wallace served with the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida. Special Agent Wallace was survived by his wife, Yvette and a son, Matthew; by his parents, Frank, Sr. and Evelyn Wallace; a brother, Roy and sister, Brenda. Special Agent Wallace was posthumously awarded the DEA Administrator’s Award of Honor on May 17, 1995.
Shelly D. Bland
December 19, 1969 to April 19, 1995
DynCorp Legal Technician Shelly D. Bland, working under contract to the Drug Enforcement Administration, was killed on April 19, 1995, when a car bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was 25 years of age at the time of her death, and her family often states that it has lost a kind heart since she left them.
Mrs. Bland was a 1987 graduate of Tuttle High School, Tuttle, Oklahoma, and attended the University of Central Oklahoma from 1988 to 1989. She had been employed by DynCorp since April 1994. She was survived by her husband, Gary Bland; a daughter, Jordan; a sister, Kimberly Turner; and her parents, Mike and Peggy Turner. The family has established a trust fund in Mrs. Bland’s memory.
Rona L. Chafey
December 10, 1959 to April 19, 1995
Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher, Rona L. Chafey, working in a Drug Enforcement Administration State and Local Task Force, was killed on April 19, 1995, when a car bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was 35 years of age at the time of her death.
Mrs. Chafey graduated from Bethany High School, Bethany, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma City Community College and Rose State College. She had been employed by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office since December 1992 and a member of the DEA Task Force since January 1993. She was described by her bosses as trustworthy and self-motivated and someone to turn to for inspiration. Mrs. Chafey was survived by her husband, Raymond Chafey and her daughter, Misty, and son, Nicholas.
Carrol June Fields
December 25, 1946 to April 19, 1995
Carrol June Fields, a Drug Enforcement Administration Office Assistant, who was known to her friends as “Chip” , was killed on April 19, 1995, when a car bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Fields spent her entire 29 years of Federal service in the Oklahoma City offices of DEA and its predecessor agency the Bureau of Narcotics, Department of Treasury. She was 48 years of age at the time of her death.
Mrs. Fields joined the Bureau of Narcotics on August 30, 1965, after graduating from Shawnee High School, Shawnee, Oklahoma, on May 27, 1965. During her long and distinguished career she received numerous performance awards. In 1994, Mrs. Fields received the Administrator’s Award for Distinguished Service. She was survived by her husband, Ronald L. Fields and a son, Ronald W. Fields. Carol’s husband, Ron, told people that despite her diminutive height, “Chip,” who will always be remembered for her smile, wasn’t afraid of anything.
Carrie A. Lenz
August 4, 1968 to April 19, 1995
DynCorp Legal Technician Carrie A. Lenz and her unborn son, Michael James Lenz III, were killed on April 19, 1995, when a car bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Lenz was working under contract to the Drug Enforcement Administration. At the time of her death Mrs. Lenz was 26 years of age and six months pregnant with Michael James, her first child.
An avid outdoorswoman and animal lover, Mrs. Lenz graduated from Moore West High School, Moore, Oklahoma, in 1986, and received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Central State University, Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1990. She was working on a paralegal degree at Rose State College at the time of her death. Carrie had been employed by DynCorp since July 1991. She was survived by her husband, Michael J. Lenz, Jr. and her mother Doris Jones.
Kenneth G. McCullough
January 29, 1959 to April 19, 1995
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Kenneth G. McCullough was killed on April 19, 1995, when a car bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Special Agent McCullough had 13 years of Federal Service and had been assigned to the Oklahoma City Resident Office since 1990. He was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent McCullough received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 1980, and received a master’s degree in Public Administration from Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri, in 1986. Special Agent McCullough also served in the U.S. Army and attained the rank of Captain. His civilian government service began with the Defense Investigative Service in St. Louis, Missouri, in November 1987. Special Agent McCullough joined DEA on February 4, 1990, and after completing basic agent training was assigned to the Dallas Division’s Oklahoma City Resident Office.
His wife Sharon characterized her husband’s greatest quality as honor, and recounted how Special Agent McCollugh told his son that… ” if you have no honor, you have nothing. Honor is the only thing that cannot be taken away from you.”
In addition to his wife Sharon K. McCullough, Special Agent McCollugh was survived by a daughter, Jessica; and a son, Patrick.
Shaun E. Curl
October 24, 1958 to December 12, 1997
On December 12, 1997, Special Agent Shaun E. Curl was tragically killed in the line of duty while assigned to the Miami Division. He was 39 years of age at the time of his death.
From his earliest days, Shaun Curl knew that he wanted to do good with his life and was inspired by his love for America and for the American heroes that made a difference. Even as a grown man, his walls were filled with photos of John Wayne. Shaun probably never knew that he would lose his life playing the role of true hero.
Special Agent Curl graduated from Arizona State University in 1980, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Before coming to DEA, he worked for the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriffs Office as a deputy. He continued his career with the Adult Probation Department with the county where he was instrumental in creating the intensive adult probation program.
He joined the Drug Enforcement Administration in March 1987 and was assigned to the Phoenix Division. In July of 1994, Special Agent Curl was transferred to the Miami Division, Nassau, Bahamas Country Office. His Bahamas assignment gave Special Agent Curl access to adventures he had only dreamed about. As a member of the OPBAT team, he received endless hours of training in helicopters and island survival. His family says that those were some of the happiest days of his life.
Special Agent Curl returned to the Miami Division in March of 1996 and was assigned to a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area drug enforcement group. On the night of his death Special Agent Curl offered a fellow agent a ride home from a Christmas party and was killed.
Special Agent Curl was survived by his wife Kathleen, their two children, Kelsey and Sam and his two sisters, Sandy and Rebecca. Special Agent Curl was posthumously awarded the DEA Administrator’s Award of Honor on May 13, 1998.
February 4, 1947 – September 25, 1998
On September 25, 1998, Lawrence Steilen, a contract instructor pilot with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Aviation Division was killed in a helicopter accident while performing a training mission in Fort Worth, Texas. He was 51 years old at the time of his death.
Mr. Steilen was employed by Ratheon Aerospace and contracted to DEA at the time of the accident. Mr. Steilen had worked with DEA for many years, flying support missions for DEA’s Operation Snowcap in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Prior to his work with DEA, Mr. Steilen held flight positions for operators in the United States and overseas, including offshore oil rigs and Caribbean drug eradication operations. Mr. Steilen had also served as a helicopter pilot for the United States Army in Vietnam.
Mr. Steilen was survived by his wife, Lysbeth, and a daughter, Marie.
Royce D. Tramel
June 5, 1964 to August 28, 2000
On August 28, 2000, Special Agent Royce D. “Doug” Tramel was struck and killed by a vehicle. Special Agent Tramel was 36 years of age at the time of his death.
Special Agent Tramel graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in May of 1986 with a Bachelors degree in Political Science. In August that year, he began work with the City of Dallas Police Department. Special Agent Tramel received a Masters degree in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas in May of 1991. He was accepted to the Basic Agent Class 84 in August 1991. Upon graduation he was assigned to the Dallas Field Division.
While working in Dallas, Special Agent Tramel received letters of commendation from DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine for his work on the Mobile Enforcement Team and James Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Dallas Office for his efforts on a case indicting 5 drug traffickers from Guadalajara, Mexico.
Special Agent Tramel was an avid hunter and in his spare time enjoyed repairing cars and making home improvements. He was survived by his wife, Cheryl, their children, Wyatt and Whitney, his mother, Rita Tramel, and a sister, Rhonda Welch.
Alice Faye Hall-Walton
July 11, 1968 to March 1, 2001
Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA) Diversion Investigator, Alice Faye Hall-Walton was killed in an automobile accident on March 1, 2001. She was 32 years of age at the time of her death.
Mrs. Walton began her government service with the DEA as an intern in the Records Management Unit at Headquarters in May of 1990. While at DEA, she received a bachelor of science degree from Alabama A&M University in May of 1991. She remained at Headquarters as a Clerk Typist until October of 1992 when she was assigned to the Honolulu District Office. In May of 1994 she was transferred to the Atlanta Field Division and promoted to Secretary. On March 16, 1997 she was promoted to Diversion Investigator and was assigned to the Dallas Division. She was survived by her husband Ganester, their daughter, Tayler Alexandria, her parents Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Hall and many siblings.
Elton Lee Armstead
August 11, 1957 to March 18, 2003
Telecommunications Specialist, Elton Lee Armstead died in the line of duty on March 18, 2003. His death was a result of injuries suffered from a fall while installing surveillance equipment on a grain silo in support of an ongoing narcotics investigation in Morris, Illinois.
Elton was assigned to the Chicago Field Division and during his 20 years with DEA, excelled in all of the positions he held. In January of 2003, he attained the highest journeyman level in his profession as a Telecommunications Specialist. Elton attended Loop College, Harold Washington College and Prairie State College, all in Illinois. Elton was a former Marine and served from November 1975 until November 1979. During his military service he was awarded a Rifle Marksmanship Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Elton will be remembered as a hard-working, dedicated employee, a good friend and a loving husband and father. He was survived by his wife, Marnita, and children, Kevin, Corey and Kellye. He was also survived by his parents, Ed and Doris Armstead and six brothers and sisters.
September 1, 1959 – May 28, 2004
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Terrance P. Loftus was killed on May 28, 2004, when the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after take off from Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Agent Loftus was providing air support to the Kansas City District Office as part of a Title III Investigation. After transporting drug evidence seized by the Kansas City District Office to the DEA Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois, he was enroute to St. Louis to return the DEA aircraft.
Special Agent Loftus was born in Hasting, Michigan, and graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He served in the United States Army from 1981 to 1988. Terry was hired by DEA and assigned to the Washington Division, Baltimore District Office beginning September 10, 1989. While assigned to Baltimore, he served in the active reserve of the Maryland National Guard. He was an experienced pilot with 1,700 hours of flight time. On November 11, 1999, he was assigned to the Office of Aviation Operations in Chicago, Illinois.
Special Agent Loftus was survived by his wife Deborah, and their children, Dornier, Banon, Mallory and Ross, his parents Iris and Patrick Loftus of Hasting, Michigan, his brother Andrew of Annapolis, Maryland and his sister Denise Garn of Jenison, Michigan.
Donald C. Ware
June 11, 1940 – October 12, 2004
Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Donald C. Ware died on October 12, 2004 of complications during a surgery that was directly attributed to gunshot wounds he received on June 9, 1975, while
working on an undercover operation in Mexico.
Special Agent Ware began his law enforcement career in 1967 with the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department. He joined the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in 1971.
On June 9, 1975, Special Agent Ware and Special Agent Wilfred Stevenson were conducting an investigation of a Mexican heroin trafficking organization in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico. During the investigation Agents Ware and Stevenson were kidnapped by members of the drug trafficking organization. After being searched and beaten, Agents Ware and Stevenson were transported to the desert. In the process of escaping from the kidnappers, both Agents were shot. Agent Ware remained in critical condition for months, undergoing extensive medical treatment and numerous operations.
Special Agent Ware qualified for full medical retirement but continued to work on active duty at the DEA office in Las Vegas, Nevada until his retirement in 1995. Special Agent Ware was awarded the DEA
Medal of Valor and the DEA Purple Heart Award.
Special Agent Ware was survived by his wife, Rita, and daughters, Jamie, Lori and Anna-Marie. Special Agent Ware was preceded in death by their daughter Jeanette.
January 18, 1970 – November 5, 2004
On October 29, 2004, Task Force Officer John “Jay” Balchunas was fatally wounded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He died from his injuries on November 5, 2004. Officer Balchunas was conducting surveillance as part of the Department of Justice/FBI Fall Threat Initiative prior to the national elections.
Task Force Officer Balchunas was employed as a Narcotics Bureau Special Agent within the State of Wisconsin, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). Prior to joining the State DCI, Task Force Officer Balchunas worked as a Milwaukee Police Officer for seven years and a Marquette University Public Safety Officer before that. Additionally, Task Force Officer Balchunas was a dedicated Volunteer Firefighter with the New Berlin Fire Department, achieving the rank of Lieutenant.
On the evening of October 29th, while walking to his car, Task Force Officer Balchunas was accosted by two assailants. A struggle ensued and one of the assailants shot Officer Balchunas in the abdomen. He underwent several surgeries before succumbing to his injuries on November 5, 2004. Task Force Officer Balchunas was engaged to be married in the fall of 2005 and was survived by his fiancée Luann Vogel, his parents Don and Mary Kay, his brother Dan and his sister Linda.
Thomas J. Byrne
January 5, 1968 – August 30, 2008
On August 28, 2008, while attending the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Special Agent Thomas J. Byrne was attacked and severely beaten and mugged while walking to his hotel. After multiple surgeries, he succumbed to his injuries on August 30, 2008.
Special Agent Byrne was born in the Bronx, New York. He graduated from James Madison University in Virginia in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance. He joined DEA in 1992 as an Intelligence Specialist assigned to Headquarters in the Financial and Special Intelligence Section. In 1996 he was hired as a DEA Special Agent through the Washington Field Division and upon graduation was assigned to the Miami Field Division. In 2002 he was reassigned to the Nassau Bahamas Country Office where he served for four years. In April 2006, SA Byrne was promoted to Group Supervisor in the Houston Field Division where he served until his death.
Special Agent Byrne was survived by his wife Maureen and four children, Tommy, Joseph, Matthew and Michael. He was also survived by his parents, Retired DEA Special Agent Thomas and Joan Byrne and two sisters, Patricia and Joann. Additionally, he had a large extended family, many of whom also work in law enforcement.
Samuel S. Hicks
November 27, 1974 – November 19, 2008
On November 19, 2008, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Samuel S. Hicks was tragically shot and killed during a joint DEA, FBI and Pittsburgh Police Department operation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Special Agent Hicks began his law enforcement career with the Ocean City, Maryland Police Department. Prior to joining the FBI in March 2007, Special Agent Hicks served as a police officer with the Baltimore, Maryland Police Department for five years. At the time of his death, Special Agent Hicks was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the FBI Pittsburgh Division.
SA Hicks graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1999. He was survived by his wife, Brooke, their young son Noah and his parents Charlotte Carrabotta and David Hicks. Special Agent Hicks will be remembered by his friends and loved ones as dedicated to his family and his career in law enforcement.
Forrest N. Leamon
November 21, 1971 – October 26, 2009
Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Forrest N. Leamon was killed on October 26, 2009, when the U.S. military helicopter he was in crashed< hile returning from a joint counternarcotics mission in Western Afghanistan. Special Agent Leamon was a member of DEA’s Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team (FAST) Echo, assigned to Afghanistan. He was 37 years old at the time of his death.
Special Agent Leamon grew up in Ukiah, California. He graduated in 1999 from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Studies. Special Agent Leamon served in the United States Navy as a Cryptologic Technician for nine years. He joined DEA in 2002 and was assigned to the Washington Field Division. In 2003 he was transferred to the El Paso Field Division and played a major role in
several significant international enforcement operations against Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations. Special Agent Leamon volunteered to serve as a member of DEA’s newly-formed FAST Team, serving multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Special Agent Leamon was survived by his wife, Ana Lopez; their unborn son, Luke; his parents, Sue and Richard Leamon; and his sister, Heather.
Chad L. Michael
February 22, 1979 – October 26, 2009
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Chad L. Michael was killed on October 26, 2009, when the U.S. military helicopter he was in crashed while returning from a joint counternarcotics mission in Western Afghanistan. Special Agent Michael was a member of DEA’s Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team (FAST) Alpha, assigned to Afghanistan. He was 30 years old at the time of his death.
Special Agent Michael grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania. He graduated in 2001 from St. Leo University in Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Special Agent Michael began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida. He joined DEA in 2004 and was assigned to the Miami Field Division, serving for six years in Enforcement Group Six. In September 2009, Special Agent Michael volunteered to serve as a member of DEA’s FAST Team.
Special Agent Michael was survived by his fiancé, Paola Berrio; his mother, Debra; his stepfather, Leo Hartz; five brothers, Eric Michael, Russell Hartz, Edward Hartz, Leo Hartz, II, and Justin Hartz; and
a sister, Cara Hartz.
Michael E. Weston
December 29, 1971 – October 26, 2009
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Michael E. Weston was killed on October 26, 2009, when the U.S. military helicopter he was in crashed while returning from a joint counternarcotics mission in Western Afghanistan. Special Agent Weston was assigned to the Kabul Country Office in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was 37 years old at the time of his death.
Special Agent Weston grew up in Pennsylvania and California. He graduated with distinction from Stanford University in 1994 with degrees in Computer Science and Economics. He went on to graduate from the Harvard University School of Law with his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, in 1997.
Special Agent Weston served in the United States Navy and Marine Corps in a variety of capacities, including as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and a Squad Leader. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton and served in deployments to Iraq, Norway, the Panama Canal and various other locations, where he earned numerous awards. Special Agent Weston joined DEA in January 2004 and was assigned to the Washington Field Division, Richmond District Office where he worked until volunteering to join the Kabul Country Office in August 2009.
In addition to his wife, Cynthia Tidler, Special Agent Weston was survived by his mother, Judy Zarit; his father, Steven Weston; and his brother, Thomas.
James Terry Watson
December 9, 1970 – June 21, 2013
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Terry Watson was murdered on June 21, 2013 during a robbery attempt in Bogota, Colombia. Special Agent Watson was assigned to the DEA Cartagena, Colombia Resident Office at the time of the incident and was on official travel to Bogota in furtherance of maritime drug smuggling investigations. After leaving colleagues at a restaurant en route to his hotel, Special Agent Watson hailed a cab and after entering the cab, was stabbed by members of a robbery crew. Special Agent Watson fled the cab but collapsed a short distance away. Bystanders came to his aid but he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Special Agent Watson worked for the DEA for 13 years, serving in Honolulu, Hawaii and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also served on three deployments to Afghanistan conducting dangerous counter-narcotics missions as a member of DEA’s FAST program. Prior to his DEA service, Special Agent Watson worked for the United States Marshals Service and served in the United States Army. Special Agent Watson was survived by his wife, Fadia de la Rosa; his mother, Henrietta; his father and stepmother, Paul and Linda; and his brother, Scott.
Brent L. Hanger
January 28, 1968 – August 6, 2015
On August 6, 2015, Washington State Patrol (WSP) Detective and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force Officer (TFO) Brent L. Hanger was participating in a joint WSP and DEA marijuana eradication effort on public lands outside of Yakima, Washington. This operation was conducted as part of the DEA Seattle Division’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program. TFO Hanger was hiking with other members of the Reconnaissance and Arrest Team following a tip on a suspected large-scale outdoor grow operation when he suffered chest pains which required immediate medical attention. Attempts by on-scene medical personnel to revive TFO Hanger proved unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Task Force Officer Hanger began his career with the Washington State Patrol in March of 1999. At the time of his passing he worked out of the DEA Bellingham Resident Office while assigned as an Investigative Detective to the Whatcom County Drug and Gang Task Force. In June of 2009, TFO Hanger became actively involved in eradication efforts on public and tribal lands throughout the State of Washington. TFO Hanger was a certified helicopter short haul master and key member of the Reconnaissance and Arrest Team, responsible for apprehending individuals tending to and overseeing large outdoor marijuana grow operations.
Task Force Officer Hanger was survived by his wife, Lisa and their six children; Emily, Erin, Kailey, Erik, Kyle, and Kevin.