Former DEA Chief of International Operations, Mike Vigil, returns to discuss Enforcing the Border

Featured Events Past Events Special Events
Former DEA Chief of International Operations, Mike Vigil, returns to discuss Enforcing the Border
Featured Events Past Events Special Events

Enforcing the Border

Michael S. Vigil, former DEA Chief of International Operations, Senior Executive Service, and author of DEAL

Location: Hotel Santa Fe Hacienda & Spa, 1501 Paseo De Peralta

Cost: CIR Members – $10 in advance/$12 at the door; Non-members & Guests – $12 in advance/$15 at the door*

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*Students, teachers and law-enforcement officers are welcome to attend this event for free.

On Thursday, August 24th, we’ll welcome retired DEA agent Mike Vigil to share some of his outstanding stories working in Mexico and at the border. Some of you may have heard Mike speak before — here’s a great documentary featuring some of his work (password: Dunlop), and here’s an article he wrote a few years ago.

Michael S. Vigil was born and raised in northern New Mexico where he was nurtured in a bilingual culture. He attended New Mexico State University and earned a degree in criminology, graduating with honors. When he joined the Drug Enforcement Administration he was the youngest in his Special Agent training class and rose through the ranks to the highest level of Senior Executive Service. He was responsible for some of the agency’s most significant international operations and development of intelligence sharing platforms that are still active today. After 31 years of service he entered the private sector where he engages in law enforcement, intelligence and security matters.


Michael S. Vigil is a 31-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and was a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES).  He served as the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Caribbean and San Diego Divisions.  He was also the Chief of International Operations responsible for all offices worldwide, which included Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.  Mr. Vigil was responsible for the development of several multi-national operations, which involved as many as 36 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean.

After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, he initiated Operation Containment, a heralded and dynamic initiative including 25 countries that is still funded by the U.S. Congress today. He also developed the Centers for Drug Intelligence allowing most countries in the world to collect and share valuable information in the global war against illicit drugs.  He served in Mexico for 13 years and in Colombia for over 3 years.

Mr. Vigil has been featured in numerous books:  Kings of Cocaine, The Last Narco, The Black Hand, La DEA en Mexico, Ojos Vendados, Plata o Plomo, The Devil’s Agent, Con La Muerte en los Bolsillos, A Dying Breed, Queenpins, Gangster Warlord’s, The Cartels: The Story of Mexico’s Most Dangerous Criminals, The Resurgent Terrorist Threat, Narcolandia, Cronicas de Heroes y Bandidos, and many others.  He is the author of the highly acclaimed book DEAL that recounts his dangerous career as an undercover agent for the DEA.

He is one of the DEA’s most decorated agents and was the recipient of the most prestigious award in law enforcement, the National Association of Police Organizations “Top Cop” award.  Of the many accolades he has received from foreign governments for his efforts in global counterdrug efforts, having been made an honorary General by the government of Afghanistan and presented the “The Key to the City” of Shanghai by the Chinese government are two he holds in highest esteem.  Former Dominican President Hipolito Mejia also presented him an Admiral’s sword.

Mr. Vigil is a renowned international expert on drug trafficking and terrorism.  He regularly appears on CNN, Fox News, Telemundo, Univision, Al Jazeera/America, NBC, ABC, CBS, and is constantly featured in the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Global Post, The Economist, L.A. Times, The New Yorker, The Houston Chronicle and numerous international newspapers.  He has also provided interviews to the prestigious Cipher Brief.  Mr. Vigil has appeared on numerous television programs such as the American Heroes Channel series; Manhunt:  Kill or Capture and the REELZ Channel series; Gangsters: America’s Most Evil.

Mr. Vigil graduated with honors from New Mexico State University with a degree in criminology/police science. He was born and raised in the Espanola Valley and graduated from the Espanola High School.

“Mike Vigil is a hero to the country of Afghanistan and the entire region. He was responsible for developing Operation Containment and other programs that have greatly assisted many countries, including Afghanistan. He is an internationally renowned expert in the counterdrug operations and is highly respected by many nations in the world. He is one of the true great warriors, and my country has deservedly made him an honorary General.” ~General Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, Deputy Minister of Interior, Afghanistan

“Mike Vigil is an international expert in the complex subculture of illicit drugs and terrorism. He is hero to many countries in the region because of the major counterdrug operations that he developed throughout the world. Operation Containment, for example, had a profound impact in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe. The success was due in large part to Mike’s incredible ability for strategic planning and multinational operations.”
~Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Bulgaria


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