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Name: Leonhart, Michele
Current Position: Previous Administrator

The Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Michele Leonhart graduated from Bemidji State College in Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1978. She began her law enforcement career by attending the Baltimore Police Academy, after which Leonhart served as a patrol officer in the Northwest District of Baltimore.

Leonhart joined the DEA as a special agent in late 1980. She worked for five years in Minneapolis, routinely posing as an undercover agent in numerous federal drug investigations and initiated and coordinated numerous conspiracy investigations. She was transferred to the DEA St. Louis Field Division in 1986, where she became the Special Agent Recruiter. Leonhart was promoted to a group supervisor position in the DEA San Diego Field Division in early 1988. After a short assignment as the Intelligence Supervisor, she took over command of an enforcement group for five years.
Leonhart was featured in a documentary filmed by the BBC in 1991. Her enforcement group conducted numerous investigations including international smuggling cases. The most notorious of her group’s investigations was that of a major Bolivia-based cocaine cartel that resulted in the arrest and conviction of cartel leader Jorge Roca-Suarez, co-defendants and the seizure of more than $14 million in assets.
In 1993, Leonhart was transferred to DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, where she served as an internal affairs inspector. In 1994, she was again promoted and served on DEA’s Career Board until her assignment as assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Division in 1995. In 1996, she was promoted to the ranks of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and was assigned oversight of DEA’s Special Agent Recruitment Program at DEA Headquarters.
Leonhart was appointed in 1997 as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of DEA’s San Francisco Field Division, where she served until her appointment in September 1998 as the SAC of DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division. In that capacity, she commanded DEA offices and enforcement operations in the Los Angeles area, as well as Nevada, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. Leonhart served as the deputy administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration from March 2004 until administrator Karen Tandy resigned in October 2007.
Leonhart took over as acting administrator in November 2007, but wasn't confirmed as permanent administrator until December 22, 2010.
DEA Bad Girl Michele Leonhart (by Pete Guither, DrugWarRant)
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