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.