Disrupt, Dismantle, and Destroy: The Kingpin Strategy

Former Administrator Robert C. Bonner joins us in the first installment of the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum & Visitor Center’s fiscal year 2021 lecture series Disrupt, Dismantle, and DestroyMr. Bonner will speak about leading DEA as it put the “Kingpin Strategy” into place in the early 1990s to combat violent and powerful drug trafficking organizations.

The Kingpin Strategy attacks drug organizations’ most vulnerable areas: leadership, production, distribution, and assets. DEA designed the strategy to weaken, destroy, and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations. 

Speaking alongside Administrator Bonner is retired DEA Regional Director Jay Bergman. Mr. Bergman was the longest-serving regional director in the history of DEA, and was stationed in Bogota, Colombia, from 2006-2015. He will talk about the evolution and success of the strategy during his time in Colombia.

Speaker Bios

Robert C. Bonner

Judge Bonner has extensive government service.  He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service one week after the attacks on 9/11.  Shortly thereafter, as part of the homeland security reorganization, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as the first Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the unified border agency created to manage and secure our nation’s borders. He served as Commissioner until 2006.  

Prior to becoming Commissioner, Bonner’s government service included being the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Bonner was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to be the Administrator of DEA in May 1990 and served in that role until November 1993. As Administrator, Bonner oversaw the development and implementation of the Kingpin Strategy, a multi-pronged strategy designed to destroy major drug trafficking organizations, root and branch.

Before becoming DEA Administrator, Bonner served as a federal district judge in Los Angeles, and before that as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, based in Los Angeles. Earlier, Bonner served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. When not in government, Bonner engaged in the private practice of law and is a retired partner of the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Judge Bonner is currently the principal of Bonner ADR & Consulting, where he serves an arbitrator and mediator in international arbitrations and disputes. He is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and the Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission.

Jay Bergman

Mr. Jay Bergman was the DEA Andean Regional Director stationed in Bogotá, Colombia, from 2006 to 2015. He is the longest serving Regional Director in the history of DEA. During that period, the last remaining Colombian drug cartel — the Norte Valle Cartel—was eviscerated, the leadership of the former foreign terrorist organization (FTO) Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) were extradited to the U.S., the first-generation Colombian Criminal Bands were captured, and the designated FTO Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) were compelled to initiate peace negotiations with the Colombian government.  More than 1,300 defendants were extradited from Colombia to the U.S. and 53 designated Consolidated Priority Organization Targets (CPOTS) were neutralized.

Questions? Please send questions to DEAMuseum@dea.gov.