The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has found that illicit drug activity in Cedar Rapids warrants the location of a Resident Office there. DEA agents work in tandem with local authorities as part of the Cedar Rapids DEA Task Force. The work of these agents is under the auspices of the St. Louis Division of the DEA.
The proximity of Cedar Rapids to Chicago and the number of highways that pass through it makes the city both a primary market for drug distribution and a significant consumer market. Chicago is the source of drugs such as heroin and cocaine, which are distributed by street gangs in Cedar Rapids. Mexican drug traffickers bring cocaine and marijuana into Cedar Rapids and then distribute these drugs to other Iowa cities such as Waterloo, Dubuque, and Cedar Falls.
What it Takes to Become a DEA Agent in Cedar Rapids
Any one of a number of careers can lead to jobs with the DEA. One path is to have experience investigating drug trafficking. Another is to obtain a secondary degree, such as a J.D., LL.B., or Master’s degree. Individuals with a Bachelor’s degree are qualified to apply to the DEA if they have a GPA of 2.95 or three years of experience in a number of different fields. This can include engineering, accounting, information technology, being fluent in a particular foreign language, being a ship captain or airline pilot, or having served in the military.
Residents of Cedar Rapids who want to learn how to become a DEA agent in the city should contact the St. Louis Division to find out if positions are available in Cedar Rapids.
Recruits obtain their formal training at the DEA and FBI Academies in Quantico, Virginia. Academic coursework is provided at the DEA Academy, while the FBI Academy is the site of training exercises related to driving skills and learning to use firearms.
Addressing the Drug Problem in Cedar Rapids
Drug use and distribution in Cedar Rapids has been an ongoing problem over the years. This led the federal government to include Linn County in the areas designated part of the Midwest HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) in 1998. This helps federal, state, and local law enforcement officials coordinate their efforts to fight drug trafficking in Cedar Rapids.
Heroin – Public health and law enforcement officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise in the use of heroin in Cedar Rapids and throughout Linn County. Heroin is increasingly the drug of choice for young adults in Cedar Rapids. This led to an increase of over 250% from 2009 to 2012 in the number of people seeking drug treatment in Linn County who listed heroin as their primary drug of choice.
The purity of the heroin available in Cedar Rapids varies, increasing the chances of overdoses by users. The trend towards heroin use is exacerbated by the relative cheapness of heroin compared to the prescription pain medications that are the drug of choice for many young adults.
Methamphetamine – Mexican drug traffickers import meth to Cedar Rapids from the Southwestern U.S. The local production of meth has been increasing in Cedar Rapids, and Iowans have increasingly been shifting to using the dangerous one-pot method to produce the drug.
Cocaine – Drug traffickers from Chicago transport cocaine to Cedar Rapids, where Chicago-based street gangs distribute both the powder and crack form of the drug. Law enforcement officials are concerned about the increasingly availability of crack in Cedar Rapids
Marijuana – Traffickers bring pot into Cedar Rapids from the southwest border and the West coast. From there, it is distributed to other cities in Eastern Iowa. In addition, the plants grow well in Iowa, and local production is also an area of concern. Pot is the illicit drug of choice for most young adults in Iowa.
Drug Interdictions by DEA Agents in Cedar Rapids
Drug enforcement efforts in Cedar Rapids have targeted various types of drugs over the years with an emphasis on marijuana in the 1970s, cocaine in the 1980s, and more recently, methamphetamine and heroin. Working in conjunction with local agencies, DEA agents routinely make significant busts in Cedar Rapids.
- In November 2012, a Gangster Disciples gang member was sentenced to over 17 years in federal prison for his role in distributing over 280 grams of crack cocaine in Cedar Rapids.
- A Cedar Rapids man was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison in September 2012 for selling large quantities of methamphetamine out of his garage over a four year period.
- In September 2011, a Cedar Rapids business owner was sentenced to three years in jail for being part of a conspiracy to distribute powder and crack cocaine.
- Possession of over 400 pounds of marijuana led to an 11 year federal prison sentence in August 2011 for a man who intended to distribute it in Cedar Rapids.