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FBI Agent, Reputed Drug Dealer Killed in Shootout

March 23, 1996

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ An FBI agent who built his career on big drug cases died trying to buy drugs from a reputed dealer. The men shot each other dead as backup agents waited nearby.

Agent Charles L. Reed and Jonathan Cramer met in a hotel parking lot and sat inside the agent’s gray Mercedes-Benz. Reed wore a body wire that taped the waterfront transaction Friday.

``I don’t know if I can trust you. I want to look in the suitcase and see if you have a wire,″ Cramer said on a tape recording obtained by WPVI-TV.

``They killed each other,″ FBI Director Louis J. Freeh told a news conference at the agency’s office here. With red-rimmed eyes, he stood in front of an FBI seal draped with a black ribbon.

Reed was in the back seat of his car on the passenger side and Cramer was in front of him, Freeh said. A third person was in the driver’s seat, Freeh said. He would not elaborate.

Cramer, 24, was shot twice, in the head and upper chest.

Police said only that Reed was shot several times.

The agent was negotiating over a kilogram of cocaine, unidentified sources told the TV station. Freeh said no drugs were recovered.

Police swarmed the parking lot of the Comfort Inn area seconds after the shooting. ``As soon as there was one, there were 31,″ said Pat Diviny, who was across the street.

Reed, 45, of Lansdale, was the first Philadelphia-area agent killed in three decades and the 46th to die on duty in the bureau’s 87-year history.

A certified public accountant, Reed joined the FBI office here in 1980 and helped break open a nationwide cocaine ring operated by suburban dentist Larry Lavin in the 1980s. The investigation netted more than 100 convictions.

``This was an extraordinary, committed agent who never said no, who worked harder than anyone in this division,″ Freeh said.

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