De Sousa appoints former Philly DEA head as deputy police commissioner

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Newly appointed Baltimore Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle. Image via PBS.

A former U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency division chief who began his career as a cop in Baltimore will be the newest deputy commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department.

Gary Tuggle, a DEA agent of 26 years who stepped down just last month as head of the agency’s Philadelphia Division, will be the deputy commissioner of the BPD’s Strategic Investigations and Support Services Bureau, according to a BPD release. He and Andre Bonaparte will both serve as deputies to newly appointed Commissioner Darryl De Sousa in his reorganized department. Bonaparte will oversee the department’s Operations Bureau.

Tuggle, a Baltimore native, first worked as a Baltimore police officer before taking a job as a DEA agent here 1992, according to his agency bio. He went on to work in Miami, Barbados, Chicago, Washington D.C., Trinidad and areas of the Caribbean and Latin America, spending years building “complex international drug investigations.”

He was appointed assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s Washington Field Division in 2012, and for several years led the agency’s Baltimore District Office before taking his most recent job in Philadelphia. Department of Justice releases indicate he helped bring a number of cases against major drug traffickers while working in Baltimore, including cocaine and heroin dealers who moved large amounts of drugs around the city and brought them from across the country.

One major investigation that he worked on shut down the infamous Silk Road, formerly the world’s premiere online market for drugs. (Two federal agents who helped build the case were subsequently arrested for stealing Bitcoins; Tuggle told The Sun in 2015 that the DEA had “noticed an anomaly” in the case and reported the activity to internal affairs.)

Tuggle has been a frequent voice in media reports on the drug trade, oftentimes focusing on Baltimore specifically. In 2015, CNN followed him for a tour of the city’s drug markets, and Tuggle explained the economics of heroin trafficking on city streets–including the increase in purity and corresponding drop in price over several decades–and how the DEA was tracking regional dealers selling drugs in Baltimore neighborhoods.

Tuggle wasn’t De Sousa’s original choice for deputy commissioner of strategic investigations and support services. That was retired police Maj. Thomas Casella, who was put up for the job but dropped after internal records leaked to the media appeared to show he had a history of sustained complaints for misconduct and racial discrimination.

The department dismissed the leaked documents as “incorrect,” and De Sousa said in a statement that there were “no sustained complaints against [Cassella] involving race, religion, sex, or any other type of discrimination.” However, BPD and Cassella agreed to part ways one week after the reports.

Tuggle will start his new job as deputy commissioner this April, according to BPD.

Ethan McLeod
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