Donnie R. Marshall

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Donnie R. Marshall

Donnie R. Marshall was the first career Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent to rise through the ranks to become Administrator of DEA.

Marshall was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up in San Augustine, Texas. He received a B.S. degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He worked as a firefighter for the city of Nacogdoches while attending college. Marshall is married to Catherine, a native of Galveston, Texas, and has three children, Emory, Ross and Elissa.

From 1984-1986, Marshall served as Assistant Special Agent in Charge of DEA's Dallas Division. He also served as a Senior Inspector in the Office of Professional Responsibility, as the Deputy Regional Director for the Latin America Region, as Country Attache in Brazil, as the Resident Agent in Charge in Austin, and as a Special Agent in Dallas, Texas and Houston, Texas.

He headed DEA's worldwide air operations from 1986-1995 as Special Agent in Charge of the Aviation Division. From 1995-1996, he was the Chief of Domestic Operations and chaired the Sensitive Activities Review Committee responsible for approving and managing potentially controversial or high-risk operations. From 1996-1998 he served as Chief of Operations, with the responsibility of overseeing all daily operations of DEA. In this capacity he directed international investigations which resulted in the arrest of important figures in major Mexican and Colombian drug organizations. Marshall began serving as Deputy Administrator in December 1998 and became Acting Administrator in July 1999. Marshall was subsequently nominated by President William J. Clinton to serve as Administrator of Drug Enforcement, was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, serving as Administrator until his retirement from government service in July 2001.

Under Marshall's leadership, the DEA developed more sophisticated and highly effective enforcement programs against ultra-violent Mexican drug trafficking organizations at a time when they were becoming the predominant force in illegal drug trafficking in the United States.

Marshall established more effective controls over the drugs ketamine and GHB (gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid.)

DEA, under Marshall's leadership eliminated several major Colombian and Mexican drug cartels and destroyed the financial and transportation bases of others in targeted enforcement operations such as Operation Millennium, Operation Tarpit, Operation Impunity and Impunity II, Operation White Horse and Operation Journey. During Marshall's tenure, DEA also established more effective demand reduction programs and enforcement programs against the popular drug Ecstasy (MDMA) which was being used at record levels by young people in the U.S. Operation Red Tide dismantled the largest international Ecstasy trafficking organization in the world. These demand reduction and law enforcement actions ultimately contributed to a reduction in use of MDMA.

Marshall was also known for his passionate and incessant commitment to capture drug traffickers who had committed violent crimes against DEA Special Agents. These captures included the murderer of DEA Special Agent Richard Fass and the kidnappers of DEA Special Agents Kelley McCullough and Charles Martinez in Colombia.