Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez today awarded the Order of Merit to DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart for her effort and commitment to battling global drug trafficking. The Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez, and Mella is the principal order of the Dominican Republic, and is conferred by the President to both civilians and militaries for distinguished services.
Founded in 1931 as the Order of Merit of Juan Pablo Duarte and renamed in 1954, the order is conferred by the President as Head of State for distinguished service to the Republic. The grade of Commander is normally awarded to recipients of the rank of provincial governors, heads of universities, artists and writers of international reputation and the like. Duarte, Sánchez and Mella were heroes of the struggle for Dominican independence.