Oakland is situated on San Francisco Bay and is one of the nation’s busiest ports. According to FBI statistics, Oakland is also California’s most dangerous city, with a violent crime rate of 1,682 per 100,000 residents. Oakland’s high poverty level and proximity to drug corridors are often offered as explanations. The brave men/women of the drug enforcement administration (DEA) strive to make Oakland a safer place to live.
The Oakland DEA resident office covers nine counties and is part of the San Francisco division. The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) reports that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the primary distributors of illegal drugs in northern California. Their extensive, well-organized networks supply methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin and marijuana and operate most of the meth labs.
The Oakland DEA in Action
In July of 2012, a lengthy investigation by the Oakland DEA, the U.S. Secret Service and the Oakland Police Department resulted in the arrest of 40 members of the Burn Out Family Mafia drug trafficking gang that had been operated open-air drug markets selling cocaine and heroin on East Oakland street corners, some within feet of schools. The gang was also involved in non–drug-related crimes like identity theft.
Cannabis Capital of America
Because medicinal marijuana is legal in California, but still a violation of federal law, it is both a source of public controversy and another outlet for criminals. In April of 2012, DEA and IRS agents raided several medical marijuana clinics in downtown Oakland amid a crowd of vocal protestors. The raid extended to Oaksterdam University, America’s first cannabis college which offers seminars in marijuana history/politics, laws, ingestion methods and cultivation techniques. The school’s name stems from its founders desire to make Oakland a pot heaven like Amsterdam.
How to Become a DEA Agent in Oakland
All DEA special agents must be U.S. citizens 21 to 36 years old, in excellent physical condition with sharp hearing and acute vision, and able to lift/carry 45 pounds, obtain a secret security clearance and move anywhere.
In addition, there are specific requirements related to education and experience (see the DEA website). Those who qualify must not only successfully complete written, oral, physical, medical, psychological and polygraph tests, but their experience must demonstrate that they possess the following competencies:
- Problem-solving ability
- Excellent written/oral communication
- Interpersonal/teamwork skills
- Planning/evaluating capabilities
All new recruits are required to attend 18 weeks at a resident training camp in Virginia where the emphasis is on leadership, ethics and human dignity The training includes academic courses in subjects like report writing, automated information systems and drug recognition as well as 84 hours of physical fitness/defensive tactics and 122 hours of firearms training.
The composition of members of the average training class is:
- 60 percent have had prior law enforcement experience
- 30 percent have military backgrounds
- The majority have a bachelor’s degree
- 20 percent have post-graduate educations
Interested persons can call Recruiting Special Agent Jeanne Allen, 415/436-7814.