DEA agents in Kansas are highly active throughout the state. The District Office is located in Kansas City, and DEA Task Forces operate out of Wichita, Kansas City, Overland Park, and Southeast Kansas. DEA agents in Kansas are part of the St. Louis Division of the Agency.
Large scale drug trafficking operations use Kansas as a shipping point for marijuana, cocaine, and heroin from Mexico. DEA careers in Kansas, and particularly Kansas City, involve intercepting the shipment of drugs along interstates 35 and 70 destined for Chicago and the East Coast. Another major route for drugs being shipped through Kansas is the intersection of Interstate 35 and US highway 54 in Wichita. Investigations by the DEA in Kansas have led to some major busts in the state.
- DEA agents investigated a case in which a Topeka woman tried to pick up a package from the Post Office that contained seven pounds of methamphetamine. She was under surveillance by the Topeka Police Narcotics squad at the time and was charged in April 2013.
- In March 2013, an Ottawa woman was handed down a 25 year sentence for her role in a prescription drug ring. She had been under investigation by the DEA, IRS, and state and county authorities since 2010, after a man who had been sold a mix of prescription drugs died in 2009.
- An Overland Park man pled guilty in February 2013 to helping distribute over $16 million of cocaine and marijuana in Kansas. Recent shipments involved high-potency marijuana obtained in California and then smuggled into Kansas. The DEA worked with other federal authorities, along with county and municipal police departments, to bring the man to justice.
- In January 2013, a Mexican citizen was sentenced to over 12 years in federal prison for his role in trafficking heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in Wichita. Originally stopped in Norman, Oklahoma by local police, the DEA and the Wichita Police Department set up surveillance on the operation.
What it Takes to Become a DEA Agent in Kansas
There are a number of requirements to become a DEA agent, one of which is the ability to obtain a Top Secret security clearance. People come to the DEA from a variety of backgrounds. One qualification is to have an LL.B, J.D., or Master’s degree. Another is to have a Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.95. The grade requirement is waved for those seeking DEA jobs who have three years of special skills such as being fluent in a number of languages or having information technology or engineering experience. Military, pilot, and accounting experience are also desired skills. Excellent physical and mental health is also required.
Residents of Kansas who want to learn how to become a DEA agent should contact the St. Louis Office to find out if positions are available in the state. Applicants who have been accepted into the program will undergo formal academic training at the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI Academy, located on the same grounds, will be used for practical training in using firearms, driving defensively and in pursuit, and physical conditioning.
Addressing the Drug Problem in Kansas
In addition to the threat posed by cocaine, marijuana, and heroin, methamphetamine trafficking in Kansas has been of great concern to the federal government. As a result of this, fourteen counties in Kansas were included in the Midwest HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) formed in 1997 to combat methamphetamine trafficking.
Methamphetamine – Methamphetamine abuse and distribution is a particular problem in the outlying and suburban areas of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which includes the counties of Johnson and Wyandotte. Mexican dealers in the city traffic in ice methamphetamine that is smuggled in from Mexico. Drug traffickers in Wichita supply the drug to many towns in south central and southeast Kansas.
With the increasing ease of manufacturing methamphetamine using the one-pot method, DEA agents are finding this to be contributing to the local production of the drug. 40% of the 143 meth labs identified in Kansas in 2012 used this method to manufacture the drug.
Cocaine – Crack cocaine use and distribution is a significant problem in inner city areas of Kansas City. The involvement of street gangs, ranging from the Bloods and the Crips to more localized groups, leads to a climate of violence associated with the use and sale of the drug. Powder cocaine is transported from Wichita to small towns in southern Kansas.
Prescription Drugs – As with much of the country, prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Kansas. This is particularly true for young Caucasians. Hydrocodone and oxycodone are the primary prescription narcotics that are abused in Kansas. The cost of these drugs is contributing to a rise in the abuse of heroin in Kansas, since it is a cheaper high for those addicted to prescription opiates.
Marijuana – Marijuana is by far the most common reason that residents of Kansas enter drug treatment programs. Mexican drug trafficking organizations have been the primary source of pot in Kansas. This situation is changing somewhat as high potency pot from California and Colorado has been increasingly in demand. Also, high purity pot being grown indoors is an increasing problem in the Kansas City area.