DEA History-The Early Years

December 17, 1919

Federal drug law enforcement is founded on a record of achievement as old and honorable, as colorful and proud, as any in the annals of American criminal justice. The achievement is the effort. The rest is for history to decide. In retrospect, it thrived on difficulty, and there are more trials and tribulations ahead. BNDD, ODALE, ONNI and a large contingent from Customs would be unified to form an agent force 2,000 strong. Bearing the brunt of the reorganization would be John R. Bartles Jr., DEA’s first Administrator; and, in a time of troubles, Henry S. Dogin would be called upon to serve as Acting Administrator; until the unification was completed under the direction of Peter B. Bensinger. On July 1, 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration arose phoenix-like from the ashes. In the voice of one of our great allies in the darkest days of WW II: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

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