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DEA History
Since its founding in 1973 the mission of the DEA has been to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States, and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any competent jurisdiction, organizations and their principal members involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing, in or destined for, illicit traffic in the United States, and recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing availability of illicit controlled substances. On this page you can read how DEA and its people have fulfilled this mission over the past five decades, and the important work of our predecessor agencies during “The Early Years” of federal drug law enforcement in the United States.

DEA History in Depth
The Early Years Years 1970-1975 Years 1975-1980 Years 1980-1985 years 1980-1985
Years 1990-1994 Years 1994-1998 years 1999-2003 Years 2003-2008 2009-2013

DEA Museum

image of DEA museum


Wall of Honor

Wall of Honor




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