The Denver division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is one of the largest of the DEA’s 21 divisions, covering a multi-state area that includes all of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. In addition to the division headquarters in Denver, smaller, resident offices are located in Colorado Springs, Durango, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.
According to a national drug use survey conducted by the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, marijuana is still the most commonly used illegal drug in Colorado; however, stimulants, especially meth, are becoming more an more of an issue and are associated with much greater societal ills. The illegal use of prescription drugs like Oxycodone is a growing problem throughout the division and club drugs like ecstasy are showing up heavily in populated areas of Colorado. Needless to say, DEA Special Agents in Colorado have their work cut out for them as they spend their careers tirelessly fighting to disrupt the drug trade in cooperation with local law enforcement.
“Catching Em” in Colorado
When Barbara M. Roach took over in 2012 as special agent in charge of the Denver division she said that, rather than going to law school after graduating from college as originally planned, she went into law enforcement because, “It’s more fun to catch ‘em than to cook ‘em.” A short time later she oversaw the largest drug bust in Colorado history with the February 2012 arrest of 80 suspects and a haul that included 50 pounds of cocaine, $415,140 in cash and 12 weapons. The operation, carried out in conjunction with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, was said to have disrupted a major cocaine trafficking network between Tijuana, Mexico, Los Angeles and Denver.
Colorado is experiencing the growing problem of prescription drug abuse but Roach maintains that “the DEA intends to aggressively combat this problem.” On December 17, 2012, 15 individuals were arrested for fraudulently acquiring and distributing oxycodone. The suspects included a pharmacist who owned a pharmacy in Brighton, CO. Special Agent Roach emphasized that, “If pharmacists abuse their position they will be prosecuted just like any other drug trafficker.”
In Colorado, DEA jobs do not focus solely on investigating and catching the bad guys. The Denver division participates in numerous public service events, such as “Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet” drives that provide for the safe disposal of unwanted or outdated prescription drugs and Red Ribbon Week, a national anti-drug campaign held the last week in October. DEA agents give lively and informative school presentations to convince students of the dangers of experimenting with illegal drugs. Attendees leave wearing red ribbons to declare their vow to remain drug free.
How to Become a DEA Agent in Colorado
It’s not easy to become a member of Colorado’s highly respected DEA office. Special agents are required to have either a bachelor’s degree with a 2.95 GPA or higher from an accredited four-year university/college or a law degree, as well as one or more of the following::
- A minimum of one years’ experience in narcotics/drug-related investigations
- Master’s degree or two full years post-graduate education
- Fluency in a foreign language
- Three years or more experience as a:
- Leader in the military
- Licensed pilot
- First mate or navigational officer
- Accountant or auditor
- Electronics expert
Qualified applicants for DEA agent jobs must be U.S. citizens between 21-36 years if age. The lengthy hiring process includes written, oral, physical fitness, medical and psychological tests as well as a thorough background investigation. The steps needed to apply are available on the DEA website or by speaking with Sgt. Michael Moore, recruiting officer in the Denver division (729) 895-4139.