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How to Become a DEA Agent in Riverside, California by Meeting Requirements

Riverside, California, which gets its name from its location on the Santa Ana River, is the largest city in Southern California’s “Inland Empire.” The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) District Office in Riverside is part of the Los Angeles division; it covers Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Although marijuana is popular in Riverside, there has been an upsurge in the use of cocaine and heroin resulting not only in destroyed lives but also the loss of millions of dollars due to reduced productivity and costs associated with both healthcare and incarceration.

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The Riverside DEA Fights Back

In 2011, a dramatic increase in the number of heroin overdose deaths in Riverside prompted a DEA investigation that led to the February 4, 2013 sentencing of a major leader of an Inland Empire drug trafficking organization to 14 years in prison. Salvador Gonzalez-Chavez had at least 19 members in his network that imported heroin, along with some cocaine, from Mexico to distribute in Riverside and the surrounding area.

On March 20, 2013, with the help of the Riverside Police Department, the DEA arrested 10 individuals accused of running a marijuana grow operation that involved the purchase of 15 houses that were turned into sophisticated indoor marijuana farms using industrial-size state-of-the-art equipment. Roughly 8,000 marijuana plants were confiscated, along with over $250,000 in cash and seven firearms, including an assault rifle.

The Riverside DEA has a long history of successful actions, including a 15-month investigation that ended in August of 2005 with the demolition of seven methamphetamine distribution cells, the arrest of 22 persons and the seizure of $250,000 in assets and 17 weapons, including three fully-automatic assault rifles.

How to Become a DEA Agent in Riverside

The hiring process for becoming a DEA special agent can take a year or longer and is the same in all states. The nine phases in the process are

  1. Review of qualifications (see DEA website for specifics)
  2. Written test & oral panel interview
  3. Drug test
  4. Physical fitness test
  5. Polygraph examination
  6. Psychological evaluation
  7. Background investigation (personal, educational and work histories)
  8. Hiring decision
  9. Training camp

To apply, go to the DEA website to take the eligibility quiz. Also contact Los Angeles division Special Agent Recruiter Adriana Guzman at 213/621-7056.

Education Requirement

It is pointed out that candidates for DEA special agent who possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree have a far greater chance of being hired than those with just a high school diploma. Although any degree is an asset, preference is given to the following majors:

  • Criminal Justice/Police Science
  • Finance/Accounting/Economics
  • Computer Science/Information Technologies/Telecommunications
  • Electrical/mechanical Engineering
  • Foreign Language (with fluency in Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Nigerian dialects, Chinese or Japanese

University of California/Riverside offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in many of these subject areas.

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