FBI Agent Killed in Pennsylvania in Raid on Suspected Cocaine Dealer's Home

Samuel Hicks, 33, had been an agent for less than two years.
Samuel Hicks, 33, had been an agent for less than two years. (AP)
  Enlarge Photo    
By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008

An FBI agent was killed early yesterday near Pittsburgh during a raid on the home of a suspected cocaine dealer, who was taken into custody along with his wife. Federal officials later reported that the woman was being charged with the shooting.

The agent, Samuel Hicks, 33, was shot about 6 a.m. at the house in Indiana Township, Pa., 10 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, an FBI spokesman said.

Hicks, a special agent assigned to the Pittsburgh FBI office, was gunned down "while executing a federal search warrant associated with a drug distribution ring," the bureau said in a statement.

The owners of the home, Robert R. Korbe, 39, and his wife, Christina Korbe, were arrested after the shooting. Robert Korbe was one of 35 people charged in a 27-count drug-trafficking indictment that was unsealed in Pittsburgh yesterday. His wife was not among the suspects in that case.

A lawyer for the couple said Christina Korbe faces homicide charges in connection with Hicks's death, three Pittsburgh television stations reported. Station KDKA quoted lawyer Sumner Parker as saying the Korbes may have believed they were the victims of a home invasion. Federal officials said Christina Korbe was being held by state authorities in connection with the killing.

As he was led away in handcuffs from the Allegheny County police headquarters yesterday, Robert Korbe blamed the shooting on other law enforcement officers.

"They shot their own guy," he told reporters. "I didn't shoot him."

William J. Crowley, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh FBI office, said, "Based on the information we have right now, every indication is that no shot was fired by law enforcement at the crime scene." He said he could not immediately provide details of the incident because "the investigation is ongoing."

The drug-trafficking indictment accuses Korbe, 30 other men and four women of being involved in a ring that allegedly distributed crack and powder cocaine from October 2007 to September 2008. Most of the defendants also are charged with using fake prescriptions to traffic in painkillers.

Twice since 1991, Korbe has pleaded guilty to drug or weapons charges and received probation. In May, he was charged with assault, resisting arrest and cocaine possession, among other offenses, after he allegedly fought with police officers and injured one of them. He was freed on $25,000 bond and was scheduled to appear in court today for his arraignment on those charges.

The FBI said its agents were working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police when the shooting occurred.

Hicks joined the FBI in March 2007 and was assigned to the Pittsburgh office in August 2007, the agency said. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, the western Pennsylvania native had served as a Baltimore police officer and had worked as a teacher in Maryland. He is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III called Hicks's death "a tragedy" and offered condolences to his family and members of the Pittsburgh field office. Michael A. Rodriguez, the special agent in charge of the office, described Hicks in a statement as "a talented agent who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country."

Staff writer Carrie Johnson contributed to this report.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company