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Press Release

Attorney General Statement on Retirement of Michele Leonhart

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement on the retirement of Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Michele Leonhart:

“Michele Leonhart, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, informed me today of her decision to retire.  She will depart the agency in mid-May.

“I want to express my appreciation to Michele, not only for her leadership of the DEA since 2007, but also for her 35 years of extraordinary service to the DEA, to the Department of Justice and to the American people.  As a Baltimore City Police Officer shortly after her college graduation, she stood on the front lines of our nation’s fight against crime.  As a career DEA Special Agent, she initiated and contributed to law enforcement actions from major drug investigations to international conspiracy cases.  And as the first woman ever to reach the rank of Special Agent in Charge, she was a trailblazer for equality and an inspiration to countless others.  She has devoted her life and her professional career to the defense of our nation and the protection of our citizens, and for that, I am deeply grateful.  

“The agents and employees of the DEA are some of the finest law enforcement officers in the world.  They are committed to upholding American rights and liberties, dedicated to the rule of law, and devoted to the cause of justice.  Every day, these remarkable men and women put their lives on the line – in communities across the United States and around the world – to safeguard our way of life.  And they do so at a time of increasingly complex challenges and constantly evolving threats.

“Michele has led this distinguished agency with honor, and I have been proud to call her my partner in the work of safeguarding our national security and protecting our citizens from crime, exploitation and abuse.  Over the past decade, under her leadership, there have been innumerable instances of the DEA dismantling the most violent and most significant drug trafficking organizations and holding accountable the largest drug kingpins around the world.  Going forward, I have no doubt that the women and men of the DEA will continue to perform their duties with the utmost integrity, professionalism and skill – and I wish my good friend Michele all the best as she embarks on this next chapter in what is a remarkable life.”

Updated April 21, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-488