Mr. Frank A. Tarentino III is the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Seattle Field Division, the largest geographic DEA Division in the United States. Mr. Tarentino’s diverse assignments have provided him the unique experience of foreign operations, multi-agency international investigations and the daily operations of domestic offices. These assignments have afforded him the opportunity to learn the many facets of DEA and how these elements work together in furtherance of DEA’s mission. As a result, this broad level of experience in both domestic and foreign arenas and effective leadership built on trust, transparency and confidence, Mr. Tarentino leveraged long-lasting relationships with many law enforcement partners to develop a coordinated plan to disrupt and dismantle high level violent drug trafficking organizations responsible for creating havoc in our streets, destroying our neighborhoods and endangering our children.
From May 1993 to June 1998, Mr.Tarentino was an Officer in the United States Army. As an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer, he achieved the rank of Captain and was assigned to 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, United States Army Special Operations Command. Mr. Tarentino became a Special Agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 1998 and was assigned to the New York Field Division where he served in DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force Groups.
In 2005, he was transferred to the Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team (FAST) Quantico, VA. While in FAST, as an agent and as a Group Supervisor and Team Leader he deployed to Afghanistan six times for a total of two years in country. Mr. Tarentino and his team conducted the planning and execution of air-mobile operations, the execution of Afghan search warrants on a series of hashish labs and storage locations, resulting in the largest seizure of drugs in history: 262 tons of hashish in Spin Boldak District, Kandahar, Afghanistan. This operation resulted in numerous arrests and convictions under the Afghan judicial system and successfully denied millions in narcotics proceeds to the Taliban who were protecting the site and taxing the drug-trafficking organization that controlled the giant lab complex. In May 2009, he jointly lead an operation targeting the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, Helmand Province which resulted in the seizure of 18 metric tons of opium, 200 kilogram of heroin, hundreds of weapons and over 1,000 IED components. This operation cemented the CN/Counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy and unequivocally demonstrated the link between narcotics traffickers and terrorists. This operation, and many others, netted over 262 metric tons of hashish, 30 metric tons of opium, 1200 kilograms of heroin, three dozen heroin labs destroyed an over 20,000 kilograms of explosive material. This effort was considered a critical step towards integration of joint operations between DEA, Afghan Police, and the military, as well as extending the rule of law, while disrupting the nexus between narcotics and the insurgency in Afghanistan.
Upon completion of his assignment to FAST in 2010, he was reassigned to the New Jersey Division (NJD) as an Enforcement Group Supervisor. During his tenure as a Group Supervisor, he forged strong relationships with various federal, state, county and local New Jersey law enforcement agencies, which proved to be beneficial to DEA. Under his leadership and through a DEA-wide national initiative, the group achieved many significant accomplishments in dismantling violent drug trafficking organizations, to include Mexican based Drug Trafficking Organizations which perpetrated the smuggling of narcotics from Mexico and Southern California to Plainfield, NJ, Stamford, CT and the Bronx, NY, and the return of narcotics proceeds. As a result of his leadership, direction and strong coalitions built, the collective group was able to have significant success, to include the closure of several overdose investigations, and a significant reduction in violent and property crimes in targeted locations.
In January 2015, Mr. Tarentino was promoted to the New Jersey Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC). He was responsible for Enforcement Groups 2 and 3, Task Force Groups 1 and 2, Tactical Diversion Squad, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Camden Task Force, Clan Lab Enforcement Team and the Special Response Team, as well as all technical operations, intelligence, asset forfeiture, and administrative groups assigned to the New Jersey Division. As ASAC, Mr. Tarentino led more than 160 enforcement and administrative personnel consisting of 13 Groups responsible for the New Jersey Area of Responsibility (AOR) and beyond. As an Administrative and Enforcement ASAC, Enforcement GS, Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST) Team Leader (TL), and NYDETF member, he worked within the dynamics of a small team comprised of other DEA, state, and local law enforcement officers.
In November 2020, Mr. Tarentino was selected as the Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Seattle Field Division where he currently oversees operations in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.
Mr. Tarentino received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Criminal Justice from Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont in 1993.