Sheila Lyons makes history as first woman to lead Chicago DEA field office

March is Women's History Month and on Thursday, FOX 32 Chicago spoke with a history-maker tasked with fighting the opioid crisis.

Sheila Lyons is the first female special agent-in-charge of the Chicago field division.

Lyons grew up in the small suburb of Hometown, just outside Oak Lawn.

When she joined the DEA 31 years ago, no women were running any of the agency's field divisions.

She has now been on the job for 10 days and says it hasn't fully sunk in that she is in the history books.  

Lyons is also proof that you can have it all. The special agent-in-charge is a married mother of two boys, who are 18 and 19 years old.


Lyons attended Queen of Peace High School and Bradley University, where she minored in Spanish and fluently speaks the language.

Lyons started her career with the DEA as an intelligence analyst.

In between, she has held posts in Bulgaria, Afghanistan and Mexico.

But, let's be clear. This is not a cushy desk job. Lyons is now in charge of combating cartels that operate in Chicago, pumping the single deadliest drug in the nation, Fentanyl, onto the streets. 

The special agent-in-charge says those cartels are thriving and surviving in Chicago and her goal is to take them down.