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Retired Philly DEA Special Agent in Charge to be Deputy Commissioner

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Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner Appointee, Gary Tuggle

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa on Friday announced the appointment of retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Gary Tuggle as the Deputy Commissioner of the Strategic Investigations & Support Services Bureau.

The move comes just weeks after DeSousa placed a hold—then later pulled his first choice for the position, Thomas Casella, for what he said was due to "a subsequent background check" led him to discover something "that made me slow down that process and... reconsider." Fox 45 TV had reported it had discovered a more than 10 year old internal memo that said when Cassella was with the Baltimore Police Department, he faced allegations of race discrimination and misconduct. The allegations were found to be legitimate by the police department.

On Friday morning, acting police commissioner Darryl De Sousa was prepared to announce Cassella as a deputy commissioner but he said "a subsequent background check" led him to discover something "that made me slow down that process and... reconsider."

In a released statement February 10, then- Commissioner-Designate DeSousa said the information contained in the personnel memo leaked to the news media last week in reference to Thomas Casella was incorrect. “There are no sustained complaints against him involving race, religion, sex, or any other type of discrimination,” said De Sousa. “What occurred to him was completely unfortunate and unfair. We are investigating how incorrect information was provided to me and how that information was publicly disseminated.”  

But, on Monday, February 13, DeSousa issued another statement. This time, saying he and Casella had mutually agreed to not move forward with the Deputy Commissioner appointment. “Due to the extreme sensitivity of the content of personnel records, I am not at liberty to discuss the matter further,” said De Sousa. “The agency will continue to move forward. The delay in selection of a permanent Deputy Commissioner has no bearing on our mission to drive down violent crime. I’ll inform the community of my selection for the position of deputy commissioner in the near future.”

That decision was announced Friday, March 2.

With over 30 years of law enforcement experience, Gary Tuggle, a Baltimore native, began his law enforcement career as a Baltimore City Police Officer. In 1992, he joined the DEA and was assigned to the Baltimore District Office after graduating 1st in his Basic Agent class. He later transferred to the Miami Field Division, where he worked on a number of complex international drug investigations. In 1995, he was transferred to the Bridgetown, Barbados Country Office where he served as the Assistant Country Attaché for an eight country area of responsibility. He served in this capacity until 2001. Gary was transferred to the Chicago Field Division where he was promoted to the position of Group Supervisor, supervising a highly productive enforcement group from 2001-2004.

From 2004 – 2007, he served as the DEA Country Attaché at the US Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad. His duties required extensive coordination with USG entities, including the Intelligence Community, DOD, and the U.S. State Department. Under his direction, the Port of Spain CO (POSCO) initiated Operation Port of Call, an anti-money laundering initiative under AGEO Operation Sovereignty, as well as other Enforcement and Intel programs that significantly increased the drug law enforcement capacity of the Caribbean region.

In 2010, Gary was selected to serve as Executive Officer to the DEA Administrator. Prior to this assignment, he served as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center (OFC) where he directed a number of operational, intelligence, and administrative programs; all focused on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting members of high-level drug trafficking and organized criminal enterprises. Before joining the OFC, Gary was a Staff Coordinator and Acting ASAC in the Latin America and Caribbean Section of DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD). During this time, Gary was one of two Staff Coordinators chosen to handle high profile Colombian cocaine enforcement operations. In 2012, Gary was assigned as an Assistant Special in Charge of DEA’s Washington Field Division where he subsequently led the Baltimore District Office until his promotion to the DEA’s Senior Executive Service and appointment as the Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Field Division.

Gary holds a Master Degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Arts Degree (MA) in Government with a concentration in National Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his undergraduate studies with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Management Science at Coppin State University. During his career, he has received numerous service awards and accolades.

Deputy Commissioner Tuggle will start his new role in April. Deputy Commissioner Andre Bonaparte will oversee the Operations Bureau.