FBI Chief in L.A. to Quit Post

Times Staff Writer

Richard T. Garcia, a 24-year FBI veteran, announced Tuesday that he would retire by the end of July as head of the bureau’s Los Angeles field office to accept a job in the private sector.

The first Latino to lead the office, Garcia, 52, said he was returning -- after only 1 1/2 years in his post -- to Houston, where he is weighing undisclosed job offers.

Garcia was appointed to the Southland position in January 2004 after running the FBI office in Houston. His wife has continued to work in that city during his tenure here.


Garcia also said he was leaving the FBI now so his 24-year-old son, a U.S. soldier, could attend his retirement party before departing in September for Iraq.

“He was born one month after I graduated from Quantico,” Garcia said Tuesday, referring to the FBI’s training academy. “So he’s sort of grown up with me in the bureau and wanted to be at my going-away party.”

Garcia announced his retirement in a brief e-mail thanking the Los Angeles office’s 1,200 employees, including nearly 800 agents, for their service.

His retirement marks the second departure of a high-ranking official in recent months. In February, the longtime head of the office’s criminal division, Jim Sheehan, was reassigned amid an internal investigation into the suicide of a female agent with whom he had been romantically involved.

Born in San Antonio, Garcia joined the FBI in October 1980 after serving five years with the Dallas Police Department.

In March 2001, he was appointed head of the criminal division in Los Angeles with oversight of cases involving organized crime, drug trafficking and public corruption.


He was appointed head of the Houston field office in December 2002.

If no successor is appointed before Garcia’s retirement, the FBI will name an acting director until a permanent replacement is chosen.