Drug Enforcement Administration

New Jersey

Susan A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge

December 18, 2017

Contact: Timothy P. McMahon

Phone Number: (973) 776-1143

DEA New Jersey Welcomes New Special Agent In Charge

NEWARK, N.J. - On October 30, 2017, new Special Agent in (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, Valerie A. Nickerson, reported for duty.  SAC Nickerson is replacing former SAC Carl J. Kotowski, who retired on October 27.  SAC Kotowski oversaw the DEA’s New Jersey Division since April 2013.

SAC Nickerson will oversee all of DEA’s operations in New Jersey, to include the New Jersey Division Office in Newark, Paterson Post of Duty, Monmouth Post of Duty, Atlantic City Resident Office and Camden Resident Office.  She takes over as the first female SAC for DEA in New Jersey.  “I am originally from the Boston area and I am glad to be back in the northeast,” said Special Agent in Charge Nickerson.  “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the men and women of DEA in New Jersey who have been doing a great job combating local, national, and international drug trafficking organizations”. 

SAC Nickerson reports to New Jersey in the midst of the current opioid crisis.  In 2016, approximately 1,900 residents of New Jersey died from an opioid overdose.  SAC Nickerson said, “We will continue with our enforcement, diversion, and educational efforts to combat this issue facing New Jersey.”

SAC Nickerson has been with the DEA for 29 years and is coming to New Jersey after her most recent assignment as the Associate Special Agent in Charge for DEA’s Los Angeles Division.  As the Associate SAC of the Los Angeles Division she oversaw the Southern California Drug Task Force, also known as the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking (LA-HIDTA) Task Force.   In this capacity, she had oversight of 10 enforcement groups operating within Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and also managed an Office of National Drug Control Policy grant in the amount of $3.84 million.
SAC Nickerson has had a very active career with DEA.  In 1988, SAC Nickerson was sworn in as a Special Agent in the Boston Division, and graduated from the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  Upon graduating from the DEA Academy, she accepted her first domestic assignment at the DEA New York Division.
SAC Nickerson remained in the New York Division until her transfer to Bogota, Colombia in 1997 where she targeted high level Colombian cartels.   Her first supervisory role came in 2000 in the St. Louis Division, and she served two tours at DEA Headquarters.  SAC Nickerson also oversaw all U.S. anti-narcotics enforcement efforts throughout Central America from 2007 - 2013 while assigned as the Assistant Regional Director in DEA’s Panama City Country Office.

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