Since Arkansas is a hub for drug smuggling throughout the Midwest and often a passage for cartels moving drugs to the East Coast, DEA careers in the state are often spent actively disrupting drug shipments. Some recent busts in Arkansas are listed here:
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- A DEA investigation led to the April 2013 sentencing of a man from Gurdon to over five years in jail for selling pure methamphetamine.
- A joint investigation between the Arkansas State Police and the DEA led to the April 2013 sentencing of several men from North Carolina for transporting cocaine on Interstate 30.
- Twenty-one individuals were indicted for distributing over 500 g of methamphetamine in central Arkansas in November 2012. This was the result of a joint investigation between the DEA and a number of federal, state, and local authorities. In addition to the drugs, a number of other items were seized, including over $66,000, firearms, and two tractor-trailers.
What it Takes to Become a DEA Agent in Arkansas
There are several career paths that people can take to become a DEA agent. To start formal training at the DEA Academy, applicants can meet educational requirements with a J.D. or LL.B. degree. Another option for those who have been involved in drug investigations during previous work in law enforcement is to qualify through a combination of experience and post-secondary education. Many DEA agents in Arkansas also have a Bachelor’s degree in combination with non-law enforcement related experience in such qualifying areas as:
- Being a ship’s Captain
- Being a pilot
- Being an accountant
- Being fluent in one of a number of different languages
Arkansas residents who wish to become a DEA agent should contact the New Orleans Division to see if there are jobs available in Arkansas. Those who apply must be in excellent health, have good vision and hearing, and be mentally and emotionally stable.
DEA agents are trained at the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They receive additional practical training such as using firearms, driving in pursuit, and getting in physical shape at the FBI Academy that is also in Quantico.
Addressing the Drug Problem in Arkansas
Arkansas was among the top ten states for the amount of drugs used by young adults from the period from 2007-2008. Drug smuggling in Arkansas is at such a high level that four counties of the state are part of the Gulf Coast HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). They are Benton, Jefferson, Pulaski, and Washington Counties.
Methamphetamine – DEA agents in Arkansas are kept busy by the scale of methamphetamine smuggling in the state. Mexican drug traffickers, including affiliates of the Tijuana and Gulf Cartels, bring large amounts of the ice form of methamphetamine into suburban areas and small towns of central Arkansas. From there, it is distributed throughout the state and the Midwest.
Cocaine – Cocaine is widely available in most of the drug markets in Arkansas. The use and distribution of this drug contributes greatly to the level of crime in much of the state.
Controlled Prescription Drugs – The abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opiate painkillers like Oxycontin, is a growing threat in Arkansas. Frequently, teenagers start abusing these drugs by raiding their parents’ medicine cabinets. To combat this, the DEA sponsors a yearly National Prescription Take-Bake Initiative, and Arkansas citizens turned in over 17.5 tons of drugs, estimated to be at least 48 million pills. This was almost double the weight of the drugs turned in by residents of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana combined.
Marijuana – Although marijuana is widely abused throughout Arkansas and remains highly available, it is considered to be less of a threat than the abuse of methamphetamine, cocaine, and controlled prescription drugs. While some of the pot in the region is grown locally, DEA agents have found that diversions from medical suppliers in Colorado are another source for the drug in Arkansas.