Special Agent Valerie A. Nickerson has served 29 years with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. She currently serves as the Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division. As the SAC, Ms. Nickerson oversees all of DEA’s operations in New Jersey, to include the New Jersey Division Office, Paterson Post of Duty, Monmouth Post of Duty, Atlantic City Resident Office and Camden Resident Office.
Prior to being named SAC of the New Jersey Division, SAC Nickerson was 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, she had 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. She also managed an Office of National Drug Control Policy grant in the amount of $3.84 million.
SAC 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, she was sworn as a Special Agent in the Boston Field Division, and graduated from the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Upon graduating from the DEA Academy, her first domestic assignment was at the DEA New York Field Division.
SAC Nickerson remained in the New York Field Division until her transfer to Bogota, Colombia in 1997. In 2000, she received her first supervisory role in the St. Louis Field Division, and then served subsequent assignments in DEA Headquarters, the North and Central America Region, and the Chicago Field Division.
In the New York Field Division and Bogota Country Office, SAC Nickerson targeted high level Colombian Cartels. While in the Bogota Office she worked hand in hand with vetted Colombian police on narcotics investigations. SAC Nickerson also served two DEA Headquarter tours where her efforts focused on international programs. During her 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, she oversaw domestic impact heroin investigations.
The varied domestic and international experiences have given SAC Nickerson in depth knowledge of criminal organizations, as well as expertise in developing critical alliances with other federal and foreign counterpart agencies. SAC Nickerson brings experience to the New Jersey Division that is crucial to the success of DEA’s mission.