Special Agent John S. Comer has served 33 years with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. In his current assignment as the Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Division, Special Agent Comer oversees the development of the counter narcotics enforcement strategy and drug law enforcement partnerships throughout seven counties in the greater Los Angeles area, the entire states of Nevada and Hawaii, the island of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Special Agent Comer’s education has provided him a robust foundation in organizational leadership and management. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, and has attended the University of Virginia Executive Leadership Institute as well as the Johns Hopkins University Executive Leadership Institute.
In 1983, Mr. Comer was sworn as a Special Agent in the Phoenix Division and graduated from the DEA Academy in Glynco, Georgia. Upon graduating from the DEA Academy, Special Agent Comer accepted his first domestic assignment at the DEA Los Angeles Division.
In 1992, Special Agent Comer received his first supervisory role in the San Francisco Division. Special Agent Comer served subsequent assignments in the Ventura Resident Office, the Special Operations Division, the Phoenix Division and the Atlanta Division. These assignments afforded Special Agent Comer vast experience combating transnational organized crime and managing international narcotics investigations. In California and Arizona, Special Agent Comer had oversight on multilateral investigations with Mexico and other Latin American countries. While in the Special Operations Division, Special Agent Comer coordinated methamphetamine investigations on a national level. In the Atlanta Division, Special Agent Comer oversaw federal drug enforcement efforts in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Special Agent Comer’s expertise in developing critical alliances between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country has fostered quality execution of DEA’s mission.
Special Agent David J. Downing has served 21 years with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. In his current assignment as the Associate Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Division, Special Agent Downing oversees the execution of DEA’s counter narcotics enforcement strategy and all DEA operations throughout seven counties in the greater Los Angeles area, the States of Nevada and Hawaii, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Special Agent Downing earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Troy State University in 1990. In addition to several DEA management training programs, Special Agent Downing has attended the Notre Dame University Executive Leadership Institute.
Mr. Downing joined DEA in 1995 and graduated from the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Upon graduation, Special Agent Downing was assigned to the Houston Division where he conducted complex conspiracy investigations that targeted large-scale Colombian and Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
In 2002, Mr. Downing was promoted to Group Supervisor in the Atlanta Field Division, and he was selected as the Resident Agent in Charge of the Freeport Resident Office in the Bahamas in 2006. From 2008 to 2009, Mr. Downing served as the Acting Country Attaché for the Nassau Country Office. These leadership roles equipped Mr. Downing with extensive experience managing the full spectrum of DEA enforcement operations involving personnel from multiple federal, state, local, and foreign agencies.
After a four year tour with DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility beginning in 2010, Mr. Downing was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the New Orleans Division in June 2014. In this assignment, Mr. Downing served as the office head of the Little Rock District Office, overseeing all DEA operations in the state of Arkansas and leading 70 personnel.
Special Agent Downing is a proven leader with a history of effectively managing a diversified workforce, promoting unit cohesiveness and mission loyalty. Mr. Downing’s successes exemplify quality execution of DEA’s mission.
Special Agent Valerie A. Nickerson has served 28 years with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. She currently serves as the Associate Special Agent in Charge of the Southern California Drug Task Force, also known as the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (LA-HIDTA) Task Force. In this capacity, Special Agent Nickerson has oversight of ten enforcement groups operating within Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. These groups are multi-jurisdictional, conducting complex regional, national and international investigations, and are comprised of employees from various federal, state and local agencies operating under DEA’s policies, procedures and guidance. Special Agent Nickerson also manages an Office of National Drug Control Policy grant in the amount of $3.84 million.
Special Agent Nickerson’s education and career have equipped her with the tools to successfully lead a workforce in the fight against transnational and international organized crime. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University, and attended the Johns Hopkins University Executive Leadership Institute.
In 1988, Ms. Nickerson was sworn as a Special Agent in the Boston Division, and graduated from the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Upon graduating from the DEA Academy, Special Agent Nickerson accepted her first domestic assignment at the DEA New York Division.
Special Agent Nickerson remained in the New York Division until her transfer to Bogota, Colombia in 1997. In 2000, Special Agent Nickerson received her first supervisory role in the St. Louis Division. Special Agent Nickerson served subsequent assignments in DEA Headquarters, the North and Central America Region, and the Chicago Division.
In the New York Division and Bogota Country Office, Special Agent Nickerson targeted high level Colombian Cartels. While in the Bogota Office she worked hand in hand with vetted Colombian police on narcotics investigations. Special Agent Nickerson served two DEA Headquarter tours where her efforts focused on international programs. During Special Agent Nickerson’s time in the North and Central America region she over saw a multitude of international investigations and formed essential relationships with foreign counterparts in several countries. While in both St. Louis and Chicago, Special Agent Nickerson oversaw domestic impact heroin investigations.
The varied domestic and international experiences gave Special Agent Nickerson in depth knowledge of criminal organizations, as well as expertise in developing critical alliances with other federal and foreign counterpart agencies. Special Agent Nickerson brings experience to the Southern California Drug Task Force that is crucial to the success of DEA’s mission.