Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Honoring The Drug Enforcement Administration On Its 35th Anniversary

Jul 14, 2008
Floor Speech



   Mr. PASCRELL . Thank you for yielding.

   Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor the men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration on the occasion of their 35th anniversary. We must take every opportunity to honor our brave law enforcement officers, but we often forget the critical importance of the DEA and the terrible dangers that their officers face in order to keep our streets safe from drugs. When you look at the list of those who have given their lives, Mr. Speaker, we know how serious this is. And we have this issue occur on our streets every day.

   I want to congratulate the DEA acting administrator, Michele M. Leonhart, for leading this commendable agency through its 35th year. I want to give great thanks to Gerald McAleer, Special Agent in charge of the DEA New Jersey division, for all of the tremendous work he's done to team with local law enforcement in order to provide the most effective level of security against drugs in our neighborhoods.

   Just 3 days ago, the DEA in New Jersey teamed with Passaic County Prosecutor James F. Avigliano to arrest six individuals affiliated with the Trey 9 set of the Bloods street gang who were peddling large quantities of drugs in Newark, Parsippany, and in my town of Paterson, New Jersey. These arrests were executed as part of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's Crime Initiative to target criminal gangs, drugs, and guns.

   This particular 35-day investigation was initiated by the prosecutor's office of gang/narcotics task force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Postal Office, and the Clifton Police Department, proving once again that our greatest level of homeland security can only come from Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies working in this partnership.

   In regards to the DEA's efforts in this high-profile drug bust, I can provide no greater testament to the urgency of the work than by quoting Prosecutor James Avigliano who stated this: ``Without the outstanding cooperation with the DEA Newark office, we would have been unable to arrest six major gang leaders and confiscate a substantial quantity of narcotics. The assistance provided by the DEA is key to our continued success in taking high level dealers and large quantities of drugs off the street.''

   It is due to the critical nature of their work that I am very thankful that we saw fit to approve much-needed funding of the DEA in last year's Consolidated Appropriations Act that put 200 more agents on the street after having to endure a long hiring freeze in previous years. No justification for that whatsoever, Mr. Speaker.

   The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman's time has expired.

   Mr. SCHIFF. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

   Mr. PASCRELL . We must do more to honor the DEA and I pledge my full support.

   Mr. Speaker, let me plead with you and my fellow Members on both sides of the aisle that there is no greater threat to the United States of America than the undermining of our will and our morale with the issuing of drugs through proliferation through our streets. There is no greater danger, Mr. Speaker. I cannot say it enough. The DEA understands that. Hopefully the Congress will come to understand it as well.