Michele M. Leonhart was unanimously confirmed as the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration by the U.S. Senate on December 22, 2010, following her nomination by President Obama in February 2010. In that capacity, Ms. Leonhart, a career DEA Special Agent, directs the $2.02 billion agency and is responsible for over 10,000 employees in domestic offices throughout the U.S. and in 83 foreign offices in 63 countries. Ms. Leonhart had been the Acting Administrator since November 2007, and served as DEA’s Deputy Administrator since 2004. ...Read More
Prior to becoming Administrator and Deputy Administrator, Ms. Leonhart held several positions within DEA’s Senior Executive Service (SES). She was the Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division from 1998-2003. In that capacity, she commanded one of DEA’s largest Field Divisions and was responsible for all enforcement and administrative operations in the Los Angeles area, as well as Nevada, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. She previously held the position of Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s San Francisco Field Division from 1997-1998, becoming DEA’s first female ever to be promoted to the position of Special Agent in Charge. Ms. Leonhart’s first appointment within the SES was in 1996 when she spearheaded DEA’s Special Agent Recruitment efforts at DEA Headquarters.
As a career DEA Special Agent, Ms. Leonhart held several key positions as she moved through the ranks of DEA. In 1995 she was promoted to the position of Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division, responsible for Southwest Border enforcement operations and division administrative functions. Between 1993 and 1995, Ms. Leonhart held management positions within DEA Headquarters to include Career Board Executive Secretary, Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Inspector, and Staff Coordinator in the Operations Division. Ms. Leonhart’s first supervisory position was in DEA’s San Diego Field Division. Prior to that, Ms. Leonhart initiated major drug investigations and conspiracy cases in Minneapolis and St. Louis, and served as a DEA Special Agent recruiter.
While at DEA, she attended Boston University’s Leadership Institute, and is the recipient of numerous awards and commendations in recognition of her leadership, performance and commitment to public service. She was awarded the rank of Distinguished Executive by President Bush in 2004, the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service from President Bush in 2005, and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service from President Clinton in 2000. Additionally, Administrator Leonhart received the Law Enforcement Exploring William H. Spurgeon Award in 2006, the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Outstanding Federal Law Enforcement Employee Award in 2005, and the Administrator’s Award in 1993.
Ms. Leonhart has more than 30 years in law enforcement, beginning her law enforcement career as a Baltimore City Police Officer after graduating from college in Minnesota with a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice in 1978. She joined the ranks of DEA as a Special Agent in 1980. A native of Minnesota, Ms. Leonhart is married and has two sons.