DEA Nominee Leonhart Hailed As A Model Federal Drug Agent


The St. Paul Pioneer Press offers a thumbnail profile of Michele Leonhart, a St. Paul native who is President Obama's pick to be the nation's No. 1 drug cop as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Leonhart, a 1978 graduate in criminal justice at Bemidji State University, worked in Minneapolis as a DEA agent in the early 1980s.

Jim Braseth, a legendary DEA chief in the Twin Cities, once said, “If you could look in the dictionary for the definition of a federal drug agent, you'd find Michele's picture.” She was elevated to the No. 2 spot in the DEA in 2003 under President George W. Bush. Since the 2007 resignation of former DEA head Karen Tandy, Leonhart has been serving as acting administrator. If confirmed by the Senate, her appointment would cap a 30-year DEA career that included stints in Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington.

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