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Umberg Confirmed to Key U.S. Drug Post

April 04, 1998|PETER M. WARREN

Tom Umberg, who has been working for the nation's drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, in Washington since last summer, was confirmed late Thursday by the U.S. Senate as deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Umberg, a former assemblyman from Orange County and candidate for state attorney general, is in charge of drug interdiction efforts worldwide.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to help keep America's kids off drugs," Umberg, 42, said.

The drug control policy office coordinates the work of 50 federal agencies to reduce the use and importation of illegal drugs into the country, which the White House estimates is a $50-billion-a-year business.

As deputy director for supply interdiction, Umberg will be in charge of reducing the supply of drugs at its source, as well as all kinds of interdiction on the sea and at the border.

Umberg, who also served as assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles and Orange County from 1987 to 1990, will earn $125,000 a year. He served in the assembly from 1990 to 1994 and lost the 1994 attorney general's race to Dan Lungren.

McCaffrey praised Umberg, calling him a "hard-working public servant." Umberg was nominated by President Clinton to the post in September 1997.

Umberg, who has a home in Villa Park, is currently living in Virginia with his wife, Lt. Col. Robin Umberg, a nurse in the Army Reserve, and their three children.

"She doesn't even know yet," said Tom Umberg, also a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. "She is at Ft. Bragg in a training exercise."

He said his family expects to return to Orange County at the end of Clinton's term in office.

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