The People at DEA

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Timothy J. Shea, Acting Administrator, DEA

Timothy J. SheaTimothy J. Shea was appointed Acting Administrator of the DEA on May 19, 2020.  As Acting Administrator, Mr. Shea leads a workforce of more than 15,000 and oversees a budget of $3.2 billion.  He is responsible for DEA’s enforcement, intelligence, administrative, and regulatory activities worldwide. 

Mr. Shea has a long career in public service spanning both federal and state governments and the executive and legislative branches.  Before joining DEA, he was the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country, responsible for the prosecution of both federal and local crimes in the District of Columbia.  He also served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.

Mr. Shea previously served as Counselor to the Attorney General of the United States.  In that role, he advised the Attorney General on law enforcement operations, nationally significant criminal and civil matters, and criminal justice policy affecting the Department of Justice, a cabinet level department with a budget of $31 billion and 115,000 employees consisting of the principal institutions responsible for the enforcement of federal law—the Criminal Division; Civil Division; Antitrust Division; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; United States Marshals Service, Bureau of Prisons, and others.

Mr. Shea also was an Assistant United States Attorney, where he prosecuted federal criminal cases, including violent crimes, drug trafficking, fraud, federal tax fraud and evasion, civil rights, and public corruption.  He headed the task force responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes at the District of Columbia correctional facilities at Lorton, supervising AUSAs and DC government attorneys. He was also the coordinator for matters related to the criminal enforcement of child support.

Under President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Shea served as Associate Deputy Attorney General, a position in which he advised the Deputy Attorney General and the Attorney General about complex legal matters, law enforcement operations, and management issues affecting the Department.

Beyond the Department, Mr. Shea has served the United States Congress, including as Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and on the United States House Appropriations Committee professional staff under Ranking Member Silvio O. Conte.

In state government, Mr. Shea served as the Chief of Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. In that role, he managed several divisions staffed by attorneys and investigators, and was responsible for the enforcement of state law related to consumer protection, civil rights, antitrust, regulated industries, insurance rate setting, telecommunications, energy, environment, public charities, elder protection, and others.

Before returning to the Department most recently, Mr. Shea was in private practice at an international law firm.

Mr. Shea earned his JD degree magna cum laude in 1991 from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.  He was also a senior staff member of the American Criminal Law Review.  Mr. Shea received his BA degree magna cum laude in 1982 from Boston College, where he received an academic scholarship and the Kenealy Award for Academic Excellence.


Preston L. Grubbs, Principal Deputy Administrator, DEA

Preston L. Grubbs is in his 35th year with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). On October 2, 2017, Mr. Grubbs was elevated to Principal Deputy Administrator. As Principal Deputy Administrator, Mr. Grubbs is responsible for all administrative, intelligence, regulatory, compliance and enforcement grubbsfunctions in DEA. Mr. Grubbs will continue to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the Operational Support Division. He has served in this position since April 2009. In this capacity, Mr. Grubbs is the agency’s Chief Information Officer. As the Assistant Administrator for the Operational Support Division, Mr. Grubbs has oversight responsibilities for DEA’s Office of Information Systems, Office of Administration, Office of Forensic Sciences, and Office of Investigative Technology. He manages DEA’s largest Division, with approximately 1,500 employees (including contractors) and an annual budget of approximately $600 million.

Mr. Grubbs began his law enforcement career in 1979 with the Moon Township Police Department in Pennsylvania before joining DEA in 1983. Mr. Grubbs served as a DEA Special Agent in Pittsburgh, New York City, and Washington, D.C., where he was promoted to the position of Group Supervisor in 1991. In 1995, Mr. Grubbs was reassigned to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) at DEA Headquarters and in 1997 was promoted to the Deputy Chief Inspector in OPR. In 1999, Mr. Grubbs was transferred to serve as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Washington Division Office and later in the Baltimore, Maryland District Office. In 2004, Mr. Grubbs was again promoted to DEA's Senior Executive Service as the Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis Division, one of DEA’s largest geographical divisions in the United States.

Mr. Grubbs was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1977, he received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Education from East Stroudsburg University and earned his Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1982 from Robert Morris University. Most recently, Mr. Grubbs graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute in October 2010. Mr. Grubbs is currently the Executive Board Chairperson for the National Domestic Communications and Assistance Center.



Dawn Mathis, Public Affairs Specialist, Houston Field Division

I began my career 24 years ago as a Diversion Investigator in Houston, Texas. As a Public Affairs Specialist (Demand Reduction Coordinator), I am required to educate the public as to the current drug trends and the dangers of drug abuse within our communities. I also host the Annual Community Awareness Conference, Prescription Drug Abuse Conference on College Campuses, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Red Ribbon Rally, Candlelight Vigil and Community Stars Program.

After speaking to thousands of parents across the State of Texas for the past 15 years, I’ve observed that all parents are troubled by the possibility of drugs threatening their families. From my experience I’ve also learned that parents are eager to be educated and informed of the current drugs of abuse that are relative to their demographics. During my presentations I’m often approached for advice on how to prevent children from using drugs.

Here are a few tips I’ve gathered along the way.

  • Know their friends.
  • Know where they are at all times, and don’t be afraid to check your child’s room, cell phone or belongings.
  • Have dinner with your kids.
  • Be vigilant in keeping their kids away from drugs.
  • Set their standards high and refuse to reflect and share with their kids their past drug use.
  • Do not waiver in your expectations of your kids. If you accept drug use, they will have no problem living up to those expectations.


Chuvalo Truesdell, Special Agent, Public Information Officer, Atlanta Field Division

I have given hundreds of drug education presentations to a wide variety of parents and school-aged children. Whether the parental group was inner-city or affluent, the message was always the same. I began each presentation with a video clip of a young boy (10-12 years of age) sitting on his bed listening to music. His father approaches him and presents a box, the size of a cigar box and asks where he got the box. The boy tries to reply and the father interrupts him and asks him where he learned about this stuff. The boy replied that he learned it by watching him. The video narrator says, “Parents who use drugs have kids who use drugs.” This is so true. I always remind parents that they cannot condone drinking or smoking at home because they are giving their consent for their children to model this behavior outside of the home.

In addition, parents often ask me when they should start talking to my child about drug use. This conversation should occur when the child is between the end of 3rd and early 4th grade. I stress to parents they should be educated about the signs and symptoms (behavioral & psychological) of drug use in case their children are experimenting with drugs. Without this knowledge how can they identify a problem?

Also, I share with children and parents the inevitable reality that some day (sooner or later) someone, possibly a friend or a family member, is going to offer their kids drugs. I make it clear that my older brother offered me marijuana on countless occasions, but I always said no. I was never close to saying yes, because I was comfortable with whom I was. I had already made a strong commitment to say no, regardless of who offered it.

In closing, statistics say that if a parent is successful in keeping their kid drug-free until around the age of 16, then that kid is more likely to be drug-free for a lifetime. Therefore, the parents should be up to the challenge of communicating these truths about the dangers of drug use with their children. Thus, they will have more successes than failures in keeping their children drug-free.

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