Special Agent Vito S. Guarino Becomes Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Caribbean Division
JAN 24 -- (San Juan, Puerto Rico) – Supervisory Special Agent Vito Salvatore Guarino, became the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Caribbean Division, upon the retirement of former DEA Special Agent in Charge Jerome M. Harris. Upon retirement Harris was awarded the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service by President George W. Bush.
Guarino began his career with the DEA as a Special Agent in September 1985 and was assigned to the DEA Miami Division. In 1993, he was assigned to the DEA Bogotá Country Office, where he remained until he returned to the DEA Miami Division in 1996. In 1997, Guarino was promoted to DEA Resident Agent in Charge of the Atlantic City, New Jersey Resident Office. In 2001, he was assigned to DEA Headquarters in Washington, DC as a Staff Coordinator in the DEA Foreign Operations Sections, where he was responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2002, Guarino was promoted to a GS-15 level position and assigned to the White House, where he served as the liaison to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy and later as the Deputy Chief of the DEA Office of Financial Operations.
In October 2004, Guarino was assigned to the DEA Caribbean Division as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Enforcement Operations. As ASAC for Enforcement, he was responsible for all DEA Enforcement and all Task Force Groups. In September 2006, ASAC Guarino was reassigned as the ASAC for Foreign Operations. In that role, ASAC Guarino was responsible for the DEA Caribbean Foreign Operations Group and seven DEA foreign Country Offices which include Barbados, Netherlands Antilles, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
Guarino received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1980 and a Masters of Arts Degree in Education from William Paterson College in Wayne, New Jersey in 1984. Guarino began his law enforcement career in 1980 as a Police Office and detective with the Essex County Police Department in Newark, New Jersey.
In January 2008, Guarino took over the reins of the DEA Caribbean Division from former Special Agent in Charge Harris, who retired form federal service after 27 years with the DEA. Harris served with the DEA in Philadelphia, PA, Los Angeles, CA Riverside, CA, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean and Washington, DC before returning to Puerto Rico. Harris spent most of his DEA career in the Caribbean region where he served as a Special Agent in the former DEA San Juan District Office of the Miami Division, as DEA Assistant Country Attaché in Kingston, Jamaica, and as the DEA Country Attaché for the Eastern Caribbean based in Bridgetown, Barbados. Upon returning to Puerto Rico from DEA Headquarters in Washington, DC, Harris served as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Administration and Operational Support from 2000 until 2002. In July 2002, Harris was promoted to the Senior Executive Service and as the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division until his retirement in January of 2008. Upon his retirement President George W. Bush awarded Harris the Presidential Rank Awad for Distinguished Service. Prior to joining DEA Harris was a uniformed officer and detective for the Philadelphia Police Department for 7 years.