The Department of Justice has designated Robert W. Patterson as the Drug Enforcement Administration acting administrator.
Attorney General Jeff B. Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein made the announcement.
Patterson took charge upon the departure of former Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.
“The DEA plays a vital role in combatting the drug crisis facing this country,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Robert Patterson is currently the highest ranking career special agent at DEA, where he has ably served for almost 30 years.”
“I have the highest confidence that Acting Administrator Patterson will continue the important mission of the DEA in stemming the tide of the opioid crisis.”
“Ending the unprecedented rise in deaths from drug overdoses is one of the Department of Justice’s highest priorities,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein added,
“I thank Acting Administrator Patterson for taking the helm of the DEA at this critical time.”
Patterson joined the DEA in 1988, starting in the DEA’s New York Division.
In that role, he was part of a special program established to combat the growing opioid epidemic and associated violence in the greater New York area.
Since joining the agency, Patterson has served in a number of high-ranking leadership positions within the DEA.
Patterson was an acting special agent in charge of the DEA Special Operations Division, where he oversaw classified programs and communication exploitation tools.
In November 2015, Patterson was named as DEA’s chief inspector, where he had oversight over the agency’s Office of Inspections, Office of Security Programs, and Office of Professional Responsibility.
In November 2016, Patterson was appointed the DEA’s principal deputy administrator.
In that role, he served as DEA’s chief operating officer, overseeing all of the agency’s enforcement, intelligence, administrative, and regulatory activities worldwide.
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.