DEA agents based out of the Billings Resident Office are fighting the war on drugs on two main fronts: local drug abuse by residents and drug trafficking. Billings lies at the junction of interstate highways I-90 and I-94, two major northern drug trafficking routes in the United States. The local population of Billings also mirrors national statistics of the recent rise in prescription drug abuse, along with other vices such as marijuana and methamphetamine, the latter of which is a particularly addictive drug more popular in rural areas.
DEA Action in Billings
DEA agents from the Billings Resident Office recently raided a West End doctor’s office suspected of abusing its authority to prescribe addictive opiate pain medication. Agents served an administrative inspection warrant and seized medical records and the doctor’s prescribing certificate. Statewide, opiates other than heroin, including prescription drugs, are the second most common drug for which treatment is sought, as identified by Montana residents enrolled in drug treatment programs, after marijuana.
In a recent operation, DEA agents based out of Billings raided a warehouse on Enterprise Avenue being used to grow marijuana. Acting on a federal search warrant, agents seized a number of plants and equipment from the facility that was part of the Montana Marijuana Program, an organization for residents with medical marijuana cards. Despite Montana’s policies, DEA agents must enforce federal laws which take precedence over state laws. However DEA spokespeople have also said the agency will not target anyone with medical issues.
A recent traffic stop in Billings resulted in one of the biggest heroin busts in Montana’s history. Two Mexican nationals in the country illegally were arrested when officers found what the DEA estimates to be between $600,000 and $700,000 worth of heroin hidden in the engine compartment of their car. A DEA special agent testified that the men were trafficking the drugs from New York to Seattle. Heroin is ranked as the fourth most common drug in Montana that causes people to seek rehabilitation.
Jobs with the DEA
Careers with the DEA in Billings begin when a prospective agent has confirmed he or she meets the initial requirements to apply and successfully fills out an application. The path of how to become a DEA special agent is by no means easy, with initial requirements including the right education, training, or combination of the two, and a high ranking in each step of the application process. Once accepted, many agents report DEA jobs and careers to be rewarding, though never easy. As an initial requirement, prospective agents must meet at least one of the following:
- A B.A. degree with at least three years of experience and related study in strategic areas such as:
- Pilot license
- Foreign languages
- Information technology
- A J.D., LL.B, M.A. or B.A. with at least a 2.95 GPA
- Previous drug control or law enforcement experience that includes
- Surveillance and undercover operations
- Arrest, apprehension, and detention of suspects
- Collection and preparation of court evidence
There are over a dozen state, private, and online schools in the Treasure State offering at least bachelor degrees in strategic fields. Job counselors, school advisers, and DEA recruiters will have additional information about joining the honorable ranks of the DEA, a process that is never too soon to start.