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Originally published October 27, 2009 at 1:55 PM | Page modified October 27, 2009 at 7:46 PM

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DEA identifies 3 agents killed in Afghanistan

The Drug Enforcement Administration has identified the three agents killed Monday in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the agency's first fatalities in its counter-narcotics operations in that country.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON —

The Drug Enforcement Administration has identified the three agents killed Monday in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, the agency's first fatalities in its counter-narcotics operations in that country.

They were Special Agent Forrest Leamon, Special Agent Chad Michael and Special Agent Michael Weston. The men were assigned to the agency's fight against the opium trade in Afghanistan, which often funds insurgent activity.

The DEA began operations there in 2005, but in the past year launched plans to greatly expand the effort, from about a dozen agents to nearly 80.

The three men died in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of seven U.S. service members. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Michael, 30, of Quantico, Va., had been working at the DEA's office in Miami until August, when he transferred to Afghanistan.

The head of the Miami office, Mark Trouville, remembered Michael as an accomplished agent who had done undercover work, including the takedown of a major Colombian heroin smuggling operation.

"He was a hard-charging case maker. He wanted to go and do this. He wanted to make a difference," Trouville said Tuesday. "He was a young man with a lot of energy and a lot of talents."

Leamon, 37, of Woodbridge, Va., had been working in Afghanistan since 2007.

He is survived by his pregnant wife, said Joseph Arabit, the head of the DEA's El Paso, Texas, office where the agent worked until 2007.

"People are having a tough time here because he left many friends behind. He had many friends who cared for him deeply," Arabit said.

Weston, 37, of Washington, had worked until August at the Richmond, Va., office.

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