Magazine article Insight on the News

Constantine to Retire from DEA in Summer

Magazine article Insight on the News

Constantine to Retire from DEA in Summer

Article excerpt

Tom Constantine is planning to retire as the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration this summer, say several Justice Department sources. Who will succeed him isn't clear at this stage, but the likelihood is that the No. 2 person at the agency, Donnie Marshall, will take over as acting administrator for the remaining 22 months of Clinton's term.

"It is unlikely any big name outside the DEA will want to take up the job during Clinton's penultimate year as president," says a Justice source. Not that DEA agents will be unhappy to have one of their own as boss, if only temporarily.

Constantine, plucked in 1993 from his post as superintendent of the New York State Police by Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh to head the DEA, has proved to be a highly unpopular boss. His tenure at the agency has witnessed a troubling exodus of highly experienced senior agents, nicknamed the "Jurassic narcs," as Insight exclusively revealed last summer (see "DEA Drives Off the Old Guard," Aug. 17, 1998).

Veteran agents charge that through harassment, administrative leaves, constant transfers and a hair-trigger readiness to believe the worst of any of his older agents, unleashing prolonged internal-affairs probes against them, Constantine forced out many Jurassic narcs. …

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