Drug Enforcement Administration

DEA Headquarters

May 19, 2020

Contact: National Media Affairs Office

Phone Number: (202) 307-7977

Attorney General Barr announces Timothy J. Shea as new Acting Administrator of Drug Enforcement Administration

WASHINGTON – Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the appointment of Timothy J. Shea as Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“I am pleased to appoint Tim Shea as DEA Acting Administrator,” said Attorney General Barr.  “A highly regarded public servant, Tim’s long career in both federal and state government and extensive experience in law enforcement well-equips him to lead the premier drug enforcement organization in the world.  As this country continues to struggle with the evolving drug crisis, Tim’s commitment to combatting drug trafficking and violent crime will be instrumental in furthering the important work of DEA.  I would also like to express my gratitude to Uttam Dhillon, who has served with dedication as DEA Acting Administrator since 2018.  Throughout his tenure, Uttam has proven to be a great colleague and a dedicated and thoughtful leader.  I look forward to working with him as he assumes a senior leadership role in the Department.”

Shea assumed the role of Acting Administrator starting today. 

Since February 2020, Shea served as Interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.  In that capacity, he led the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country—responsible for the prosecution of both federal and local crimes in the District of Columbia.  He also served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. 

Shea served as Associate Deputy Attorney General from 1990 to 1992 and as Counselor to the Attorney General since 2019.  In both roles, he advised the Attorney General on law enforcement operations, criminal justice policy, and management issues affecting the Department.  He spearheaded the Department’s Operation Relentless Pursuit, a crackdown targeting violent crime in seven U.S. cities.

From 1992 to 1997, Shea served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia where he prosecuted federal criminal cases, including drug trafficking, violent crimes, fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice investigations, federal tax fraud and evasion, civil rights matters, and public corruption cases.  He headed the task force responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes at the District of Columbia correctional facilities at Lorton, Va., supervising assistant U.S. attorneys and D.C. government attorneys.  

In state government, Shea served as the Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office where he managed several divisions staffed by attorneys and investigators.  In that position, he was responsible for the enforcement of state law related to consumer protection, civil rights, antitrust, regulated industries, insurance rate setting, telecommunications, energy, environment, public charities, and elder protection.  Shea also served in Congressional roles, including as Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee professional staff under Ranking Member Silvio O. Conte.  Tim Shea also spent time in private practice at an international law firm.

Shea earned his J.D. degree magna cum laude in 1991 from the Georgetown University Law Center where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.  He was also a senior staff member of the America Criminal Law Review.  He received his B.A. degree magna cum laude from Boston College in 1982 where he received the Kenealy Award for Academic Excellence.

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