DEA Assigns Towanda R. Thorne-James, 26 Year Veteran to Leadership Role of El Paso Sector Inclusive of Southern New Mexico


DEA Assigns Towanda R. Thorne-James, 26 Year Veteran to Leadership Role District includes Alamogordo El Paso Sector (

Towanda R. Thorne-James was named as the lead agent in charge and has taken over as the DEA El Paso Division head, which covers West Texas and New Mexico (including Alamogordo), in December after being named to lead the office by DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. She now leads DEA agents in 50 counties in two states, covering a whopping 159,284 square miles of landmass.

She replaces Greg Millard, who led the division for over a year. Millard's new position has not released as of printing.

SAC Thorne-James began her law enforcement career in 1993 as a Police Officer with the Philadelphia Police Department and in 1998, joined the DEA. As the SAC of the El Paso Division, she is responsible for 50 counties in two states, covering a total of 159,284 square miles.

In addition to her current assignment, SAC Thorne-James has served the DEA at the New Orleans Division, Philadelphia Division, New Jersey Division, the Camden Resident Office, the Atlantic City Resident Office, the Belmopan Country Office (Central America), and DEA Headquarters Office of Inspections, located in Arlington, Virginia. Her previous managerial roles have included Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Resident Agent in Charge, Group Supervisor, Acting Country Attaché, and Senior Inspector.

SAC Thorne-James is highly decorated and throughout her career has been the recipient of numerous national and DEA awards, to include the esteemed DEA Administrators Award of Valor, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association National Bravery Award, Women in Federal Law Enforcement Julie Y. Cross Award of Valor, and the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association Medal of Valor, to name a few.

Diversity matters in leadership within the DEA.

Ms. Thorne-James becomes the first Black, and only the second, woman to lead the DEA El Paso Division. She expressed that, "I'm extremely proud of both," Thorne-James said. "It means the world to me to just be representing women in this role. I think me being the first African American is also historical. I think that I would bring my years of experience, which really has nothing to do with me being an African American, but just a different perspective. My perspective on things and I would hope that I am able to show everyone how important diversity is and that diversity matters."

Her significant focus will be on Fentanyl."Fentanyl manufactured by Mexican drug cartels with chemicals brought from China continues to be one of the largest threats facing El Paso and the U.S.," Thorne-James said. "The cartels sell the drugs on social media, targeting teens and children," she added.

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