Washington, DC – The Department of Justice has designated Robert W. Patterson as the Drug Enforcement Administration acting administrator.
Patterson was appointed as DEA’s principal deputy administrator in November 2016. In that role, he served as DEA’s chief operating officer, overseeing all of the agency’s enforcement, intelligence, administrative, and regulatory activities worldwide. He is the highest ranking career special agent at DEA.
Patterson came to this position after serving as DEA’s chief inspector beginning in November 2015. As the chief inspector, he had oversight of the Office of Inspections, the Office of Security Programs, and the Office of Professional Responsibility. Collectively, these offices comprise DEA’s internal affairs, compliance, and security programs and provide guidance and support to DEA Headquarters and Field Offices.
Prior to his appointment as the chief inspector, Patterson served in a variety other positions within DEA, including assistant special agent in charge, and later acting special agent in charge of the DEA Special Operations Division, where he oversaw classified programs, and communication exploitation tools, in support of field operations.
Prior to his assignment at SOD, Patterson was a group supervisor in the agency’s Miami Division, where he led the operations of the Orlando District Office Task Force, and later served as acting ASAC.
Patterson began his career with DEA in 1988 in the New York Division, where he worked numerous racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations, known as RICO, investigations. He was also part of a special program established to combat the growing opioid epidemic and associated violence in the greater New York area.
A native of New Jersey, Patterson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, where he graduated with honors. Over his nearly 30 years with DEA, Patterson has gained a reputation as an expert on transnational criminal networks, narcotics trafficking and trends, as well as governing policy and agency oversight matters.