De Sousa taps former DEA official as Baltimore Police deputy commissioner

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa has appointed a former top-ranking Drug Enforcement Administration official as deputy commissioner of strategic and support services, the department announced Friday.

Gary Tuggle, a Baltimore native and former Baltimore police officer, joined the DEA in 1992 and rose through the ranks to leadership positions in Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington. He has also worked in positions handling high-profile international drug cases.

He served as assistant special agent in charge of the agency’s Baltimore office from 2013 to 2015,overseeing its investigation into the looting of large amounts of pharmaceutical drugs from pharmacies during the 2015 unrest. He subsequently led the DEA’s Philadelphia office.

He is a graduate of Coppin State University and holds a business degree and a master’s degree in government, with a concentration in national security studies, from the Johns Hopkins University.

Tuggle, who could not be reached for comment, will start in his new position in the Police Pepartment in April, the department said.

He will replace Deputy Commissioner Andre Bonaparte in overseeing strategic and support services. Bonaparte will continue to oversee the operations bureau.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don Hibbert took over the DEA’s field office in Baltimore after Tuggle’s departure in 2015. He said he has worked with and for Tuggle on two occasions — once in the DEA’s Special Operations Division and later in Baltimore — and called him “an experienced and proven law enforcement executive who is familiar with the issues facing Baltimore.” He predicted that Tuggle will work well with the Police Department’s federal partners, including the DEA.

“He’s born and raised here, he knows the issues, and I think Commissioner De Sousa’s made an excellent choice,” Hibbert said.

Tuggle’s hiring comes after a messy start to De Sousa’s efforts to fill out the top ranks of his leadership team.

De Sousa was named acting commissioner by Mayor Catherine Pugh in January, after she fired former Commissioner Kevin Davis. De Sousa was confirmed as the permanent commissioner this week.

De Sousa had first announced top appointments early last month, including Bonaparte as deputy commissioner of support services and Thomas Cassella, a retired Baltimore police official, as deputy commissioner of operations.

However, an internal document purporting to show sustained allegations against Cassella from earlier in his career was leaked, and De Sousa put that appointment on hold. Later, after the department said that the allegations in the leaked document were false and that Cassella had been mistreated, the department released a statement saying Cassella would not be taking the position.

An investigation into how the false information got into the leaked memo, and how the memo got leaked, is ongoing.

Hibbert said Tuggle is an engaging leader who is “about the business of doing the job” of law enforcement thoughtfully. Tuggle is also a leader with integrity, Hibbert said, which is needed in the department after the indictment of the Gun Trace Task Force officers and the internal corruption exposed at their trial.

“The gun trace task force investigation was a black eye, not just for Baltimore but for all of law enforcement,” Hibbert said. “I’m sure he will have a keen interest in, and keep a keen eye out for, those type of activities, and I’m sure he would not stand for that.”

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