Indiana is a major hub for drug distribution and transportation, and there are two offices of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) located in the state. Special agents in the Indianapolis District Office spend their careers monitoring the whole state, while those operating out of the Merrillville Resident Office concentrate their efforts on Northern Indiana.
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Drug Interdictions by DEA Agents in Indiana
Indiana’s central location as a major transportation hub facilitates the smuggling of drugs into and through the state. DEA jobs in Indiana involve monitoring Indiana’s extensive highway system, which includes seven interstate and twenty U.S. highways. Shipping along Lake Michigan is another route that can be exploited for the trafficking of drugs.
The easy means of ingress into the state facilitates the transport of drugs from the southwestern border and California. In addition, the number of meth labs in the state has been dramatically increasing. DEA agents have been highly active in thwarting drug traffickers in Indiana as shown by the following busts.
- In March 2013, DEA agents were involved with FBI and ATF agents, along with local authorities, to break up a ring of people who were transporting methamphetamine from Arizona into Evansville.
- Possibly the largest drug seizure in the history of Indiana State took place in October 2011 as the result of a joint investigation between the DEA and state and local authorities. Over 10,500 pounds of marijuana and $4.3 million in cash were seized from Mexican drug lords operating out of a Mexican grocery store in Indianapolis. The drugs had a bulk value of about $5 million, with the resale value estimated as being possibly ten times as much.
- In September 2011, a prominent drug trafficker received a seventeen year sentence for directing drug trafficking in the Washington and Vincennes area from 2009 -2010. The organization smuggled methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine from Coldwater, Mississippi to Washington along the Route 41 corridor. The case was investigated by the Evansville Office of the DEA, along with a number of state and local authorities.
What it Takes to Become a DEA Agent in Indiana
There are several different routes that potential DEA agents can take to join this agency. Applicants can get a bachelor’s, LL.B. or J.D. degree. Another way is to have experience as an airplane pilot or ship’s Captain and to get a Bachelor’s degree. Other applicants have prior experience in law enforcement tackling drug problems.
Residents of Indiana who want to know how to become a DEA agent should contact the Chicago Division to see if there are potential jobs in the state. Requirements include having excellent physical and mental health.
Formal training takes place at the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Recruits pursue their academic studies at this academy, while they practice using firearms, driving in pursuit, and training physically at the FBI Academy that is located on the same grounds.
Addressing the Drug Problem in Indiana
In 2007, nearly as many people died from using drugs as were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Indiana. A 2008 analysis by the Center for Health Policy found that fatal drug overdoses were a growing concern in the state. Frequently, a mix of drugs and alcohol were involved. The drug threat in Indiana is considered so severe that Lane and Porter Counties have been designated an HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area).
Methamphetamine – In the early part of the last decade, Mexican drug traffickers were responsible for most of the methamphetamine trafficking in Indiana. Recently, though, the number of meth labs in the state has exploded. Indiana is the third largest producer of methamphetamine in the county. The number of meth labs busted by the Indian State Police has more than doubled since 2006, with over 1,700 labs being shut down in 2012.
The trend in 2013 is for meth labs in smaller cities to operate out of motel rooms. The toxic nature of meth production poses a major threat to public safety, and in March 2013, a meth lab exploded at a motel in Indiana. Fortunately, the state has been able to aggressively work towards shutting down meth labs thanks to a DEA partnership that pays part of the high costs of cleaning up meth labs.
Marijuana – In 2010, marijuana was the primary drug responsible for drug abuse treatment episodes in Indiana. Pot from Mexico is smuggled into Indiana in trailers that can haul hundreds of pounds of the drug at once. In addition, DEA agents have identified a large amount of locally grown pot, produced at both outdoor and indoor sites in the state.
Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs – According to a federal survey, there is an increase in the abuse of over-the-counter drugs among sixth graders in Indiana, particularly dextromorthorphan from cough syrup. The rate of high school students that have illegally taken prescription drugs in Indiana was the second highest in the country according to a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) survey. The DEA monitors clinics and doctors in Indiana to determine if they are prescribing an excessive amount of prescription drugs that tend to be abused. In February 2013, DEA agents seized the records of two medical clinics in Kokomo.