Sacramento, California’s capital and sixth largest city, serves as the location of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) district office. Situated in the northern part of California’s central valley, at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, the city has a rich historical heritage as a transportation hub.
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The rate of first-time use of illegal drugs has declined in Sacramento thanks to programs targeting youths. However, adult use of cocaine, methamphetamines and opiate painkillers remains an issue and marijuana is readily accessible from northern California marijuana farms.
A section of 29th Street has become notorious for its proliferation of gangs that produce and distribute crack-cocaine. Every month over 200 individuals are arrested in Sacramento for drug-related offenses and hospital statistics show that the number of infants born with drug withdrawal symptoms doubled between 2000 and 2010 in Sacramento’s four-county metropolitan area.
The Sacramento DEA in Action
An extensive investigation by Sacramento DEA agents resulted in the April 2013 sentencing of brothers Tony, Minh and Cuong Le who were found guilty of conspiring to purchase numerous high-end homes for the purpose of installing large-scale marijuana grows in their sizeable basements.
Rapper Michael Lott (stage name “Miami the Most”) was one of 25 persons arrested in April of 2012 after a lengthy investigation by the Sacramento DEA in collaboration with local police and sheriff departments and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. Lott and the others were accused of being part of “Thizz Entertainment,” a music label suspected of being the front for a drug trafficking network. The combined arrests allowed for the confiscation of 45,000 MDMA pills (ecstasy), four pounds of crack cocaine, one-half-pound of heroin and $200,000 in cash.
The Path to Becoming a DEA Agent in Sacramento
Basic nationwide eligibility requirements for becoming a DEA agent are:
- U.S. citizen between the ages of 21 and 36
- Excellent physical condition
- Sharp hearing (no hearing aids)
- At least 20/20 in one eye & 20/40 in the other with normal color vision
- Ability to lift and carry 45 pounds
- Capable of obtaining and maintaining a top secret security clearance
- Willingness to relocate
- Possess a L.D., J.D., B,S or M.A. degree OR one year+ specialized experience conducting drug-related investigations OR
- Three years experience plus a related bachelor’s degree or better in specific fields like pilot/maritime, accounting/auditing, technical/ mechanical or certain foreign languages
Persons who meet these requirements will have to successfully complete written, oral, physical fitness, medical, drug, and polygraph tests as well as a thorough background investigation and a psychological evaluation. Successful candidates will demonstrate:
- Ability to work on a team
- Interpersonal skills
- Competency in written/oral communication, decision-making, problem-solving, planning/evaluating, and self management
New recruits are required to attend 18 weeks of rigorous training at the DEA Academy in Virginia. Annual salaries for new agents are between $49,746 and $55,483/year depending on qualifications, with the expectation of earning $92,592 in four years. DEA agents receive all federal insurance and other benefits.