Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced the appointment of White House lawyer Uttam Dhillon as acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Dhillon will replace Robert Patterson, who has retired after 30 years of service.
“With one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes, there can be no doubt that we are facing the deadliest drug epidemic in our history,” Sessions said in a statement. “The work of the Drug Enforcement Administration is critical to fighting this crisis, and President Trump and I are committed to continuing to give it the strong leadership it deserves. That is why I am pleased to appoint Uttam Dhillon as acting administrator.”
“Uttam is a dedicated public servant who has served with distinction in the White House, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, Congress, and as a career federal prosecutor taking on drug traffickers at the highest levels,” he said. “I would also like to thank my good friend Robert Patterson for his exemplary service throughout his 30 years with the Drug Enforcement Administration, most recently as acting administrator.”
Dhillon began serving in the role of acting administrator today.
In 2006, Dhillon was confirmed by the Senate as the first director of the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. In that role, Dhillon served as the primary policy advisor on counternarcotics issues, focused on combating the connections between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism and developed regional counternarcotics strategies for DHS.
Prior to DHS, Dhillon served as an associate deputy attorney general in the Department of Justice, where he chaired the Attorney General’s Anti-Gang Coordination Committee, and led efforts to formulate and implement Department of Justice policies and programs to combat violent crime and criminal gangs. Earlier in his career, Dhillon worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California for 6 ½ years. During that period, Dhillon was appointed to the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and worked with federal and local law enforcement agencies to direct complex investigations of violent gangs and major narcotics trafficking organizations.
More recently, Dhillon has served as deputy counsel and deputy assistant to the president. In February, Trump changed his special assistant role to deputy assistant.
Dhillon received his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and a B.A. from California State University, Sacramento.