KAREN P. TANDY
Following her nomination by President George W. Bush, on July 31, 2003, Karen P. Tandy was confirmed by unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate as Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a $2.2 billion agency with approximately 11,000 employees across the U.S. and in 85 foreign offices. Under Ms. Tandy’s leadership, DEA investigations resulted in criminal charges against 87 percent of the most wanted drug trafficking leaders, an 82 percent increase in the number of dismantled priority drug trafficking organizations, and a 400 percent increase in the seizure of drug proceeds and related assets, with a recordbreaking $3.75 billion in seized drug assets and revenue denied to traffickers in a two year period from 2004-2006. During Ms. Tandy’s tenure, she has met with many foreign heads of state, and expanded DEA’s foreign presence, entering the first intelligence sharing agreements with China and Russia. Ms. Tandy also deployed the first teams of DEA agents to conduct counter-narcotics operations in Afghanistan, leading to the first U.S. extradition from Afghanistan and a more than 700 percent increase in the seizure of opium, heroin and clandestine labs.
In 2005, Ms. Tandy also developed and launched the first website designed for teens regarding the consequences of illegal drugs, www.justthinktwice.com, which received wide acclaim from teenagers, schools, drug prevention specialists, and community coalitions.
Prior to becoming DEA Administrator, Ms. Tandy was Associate Deputy Attorney General, responsible for developing national drug enforcement policy and strategies, and Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). The roughly $500 million OCDETF program, which Ms. Tandy managed from January 2001 through July 2003, spanned three U.S. Departments and included more than 2,200 federal agents, 500 federal prosecutors, and various state and local law enforcement task forces around the country. Under Ms. Tandy's leadership, OCDETF refocused its efforts towards dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. During her tenure at OCDETF, financial investigations increased from 16 percent to 59 percent; deposits to the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture1 Fund increased by 33 percent; criminal charges against leadership-level defendants increased by 10 percent; and multi-jurisdiction cases increased from nine percent to 84 percent. In addition, the OCDETF program received a funding enhancement for the first time in 10 years.
Between 1990 and 1999, Ms. Tandy served in a variety of positions in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, supervising the Department's drug and forfeiture litigation. She represented the Department of Justice before Congress in the successful effort to reform civil forfeiture law. As the first Chief of the Litigation Unit in the Asset Forfeiture Office, Ms. Tandy developed the Justice Department's expedited settlement policy to reduce unnecessary litigation for mortgage holders of forfeitable property. She also authored a criminal forfeiture practice handbook relied on by federal prosecutors throughout the country. As Deputy Chief of the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section, she supervised the Department's narcotic prosecutions nationwide. As the first Deputy Chief at the Special Operations Division, she had responsibility for implementing the nationwide coordination of drug wiretap investigations among federal prosecutors.
From 1979 to 1990, Ms. Tandy was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia and in the Western District of Washington, handling the prosecution of violent crime and complex drug, money laundering and forfeiture cases. During her almost 10 years in the Eastern District of Virginia, Ms. Tandy was named Senior Litigation Counsel and served as Chief of the Narcotics Section and Lead OCDETF Attorney. One of Ms. Tandy's prosecutions led to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that attorneys' fees paid with drug proceeds are subject to forfeiture notwithstanding the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel. During 1988 to 1990, Ms. Tandy was Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the United States Attorney's Office in the Western District of Washington. She has lectured extensively on forfeiture law and practice, and conducted international training. Prior to joining the Justice Department, she clerked for the Chief Judge of the Northern District of Texas.
Ms. Tandy works very closely with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement leaders, serving on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Ms. Tandy chairs the IACP Subcommittee on Counter-Narcotics Policy, comprised of private sector representatives and local, state and federal law enforcement.
Among her awards and commendations, Ms. Tandy has received the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service, the Department of Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement, the United States Attorney Director's Award for Superior Service, the 2004 Women in Federal Law Enforcement Director’s Award, the 2004 Texas Tech University School of Law Distinguished Alumna Award, and the 2005 Public Service Award from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education – DARE America.
Ms. Tandy, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, graduated from Texas Tech University undergraduate school and Law School. She is married with two daughters.