Joseph M. Spelta, 69, who spent 24 years with the FBI as a special agent, died Sept. 7 of congestive heart failure at his home in Waldorf.

The death was confirmed by his son Daniel Spelta.

Mr. Spelta retired from the FBI in 1994 after specializing in counterintelligence, primarily in Eastern Europe, for 20 years. Previously, he specialized in criminal investigations in various field offices in California and New York before he moved to the bureau’s FBI Washington headquarters in 1974, his son said.

Joseph Marlin Spelta was born in Seattle and received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1970. He served in the Navy from 1963 to 1967 and reached the rank of petty officer first class.

He was a member of the Washington chapter of the Police Emerald Society, a Celtic heritage organization.

His marriages to Lynda Walsh and Madeleine Muller ended in divorce. Survivors include two sons from his first marriage, Joseph Spelta of Elkridge and Daniel Spelta of Rockville; a brother, Michael Spelta of Upper Marlboro; three sisters; and two grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough