According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2009-2010), about 7.99 percent of Pennsylvania residents reported using illegal drugs. During this time, the rate of drug-induced deaths in PA was higher than the national average. Heroin was the most common reason for drug treatment admissions in Pennsylvania in 2010, accounting for nearly one-third of all admissions. Further, according to the CDC, 1,983 Pennsylvania residents died as a direct result of drug use.
In Pennsylvania, the DEA makes us of a targeted approach to drug control and enforcement, given the illicit drug problem throughout this state. The highly organized transportation routs throughout this state, including Interstates 70, 78, 79, 80, 81, 84, and 180, facilitates the shipment and transportation of drugs. As such, DEA careers in Pennsylvania are often spent dismantling cartels that make frequent use of these well-traveled smuggling routs.
The Pennsylvania DEA in the Headlines
DEA agents in Pennsylvania have been the subject of recent headlines:
- April 2, 2013: A Philadelphia pharmacist pleaded guilty to distributing oxycodone and attempting to distributing oxycodone by creating phony prescriptions, obtaining blank prescription pads, and stealing doctors’ identification information. The investigation was led by the DEA, the FBI, the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General, and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
- April 1, 2013: An indictment was filed against eight people who were charged with conspiring to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine in Philadelphia.
- February 21, 2013: A Harrisburg marijuana trafficker was charged with money laundering and distributing marijuana. The investigation was led by the DEA, as well as the Dauphin County Drug Task Force and the Cumberland County Drug Task Force.
- January 29, 2013: A former Philadelphia police officer was sentenced for conspiring to distribute anabolic steroids. Fourteen others were charged, as well, with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.
- January 9, 2013: A former police detective and his spouse were sentenced in a federal court for violating federal narcotics trafficking and firearms laws. It was discovered that a courier would travel to New Jersey and New York with more than $100,000 in cash to receive heroin from a supplier. The courier would then return to the Pittsburgh area and deliver the heroin to be distributed.
How to Become a DEA Agent in Pennsylvania Through Training
DEA job candidates in Pennsylvania, particularly those interested in careers as DEA special agents, must meet specific age requirements (21 to 36). Education and experience requirements include one of the following:
- A bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.95 or highe
- A master’s degree or bachelor’s in law
- Several years of investigative experience
- A bachelor’s degree with no GPA requirement along with relevant skills in areas such as IT and engineering
Candidates must pass a battery of tests, including a medical examination, a polygraph examination, a psychological assessment, and a physical task test, among others. Individuals who want to learn how to become a DEA agent in Pennsylvania by meeting agency requirements must also be prepared for DEA-administered drug tests and a background investigation.
Pennsylvania is overseen by the Philadelphia Division, but also has resident offices located in: