Celebrating Women: Retired DEA Agent Pamela Brown


She spent more than two decades battling drug lords and cartels, working to get cocaine off the streets. She traveled the world but has now returned home to Louisiana, spending time with family and inspiring women to live life fully. It’s the stuff movies are made of, but Pamela Brown lived it.

“I am an adventure junkie. I like danger,” said Brown.

She has consulted with authors and actresses, including Gabrielle Union. Brown helped Union prepare for her role in Bad Boys 2.

“I do not have a comfort zone. I don’t have one,” shared Brown. “My mother says I was this way at the age of 5.”

It’s one of the reasons Brown jumped at the chance to become an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration back in 1988.

“I was cardiac rehab director at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans and I was approached by DEA,” said Brown. “They thought I’d be a good fit. At that time they were looking for women who had a degree (I had a masters); women who were fit (I had just run a marathon); and women that were adventurous.”

She easily qualified then began the intense work at the training academy in Quantico, Virginia.

“You learn to do undercover work. You learn to I.D. drugs,” explained Brown. “You learn how to testify in court. You learn to shoot all kinds of weaponry… handguns, M16’s, submachine guns, shotguns.”

Brown says when she took the job, less then 5% of agents were women.

“I always volunteered to go in the door first, do the midnight shifts, because I felt I needed to prove myself,” said Brown. “I hope today women in law enforcement don’t feel like they have to prove themselves.”

She speaks three languages and has traveled extensively.

“I worked in every country in Central America and every country in South America and to this day Thailand was my favorite place.”

Brown was the Agent in Charge of DEA operations in Thailand for five years. She encourages others to study different languages and cultures.

“Seeing a broader picture of the world can only help us because we are not the United States alone,” said Brown. “Everything today is global it’s international and we need each other. We need to look at our commonalities versus our differences.”

During her 23 year career, Brown won several awards as a leader and supervisor, amassed a handful of passports and built a beautiful collection of art from around the world. Now in retirement in Shreveport, she says her goals have changed over the course of a life well-lived.

“When I was younger I used to think I could help change the world. Now I look at helping to change my world. And my world starts with my neighborhood and really just being a positive human being who wants to put out goodness… be kind.”

Pamela Brown will be the keynote speaker for the fifth annual “Women Who Care, Share” luncheon benefiting the YWCA. It takes place Thursday, August 22nd from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Horseshoe Riverdome.

Click here to purchase tickets.

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