The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Resident Office in Sioux Falls is the largest DEA office in South Dakota.
The location of Sioux Falls makes it a key area for the trafficking of drugs throughout South Dakota and the Midwest. The advanced highway system in Sioux Falls facilitates the distribution of illicit drugs once they have been brought to the city. Mexican drug trafficking organizations bring marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine into Sioux Falls, frequently up Interstate 29. Once they are in Sioux Falls, illicit drugs can be sent east or west on Interstate 90, which runs through the city.
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In addition, a significant amount of drugs are sold within Sioux Falls, contributing to a climate of violence in the city. The DEA closely monitors drug sales in Sioux Falls and periodically makes significant busts in the city.
- As the result of a joint investigation involving the DEA, a Sioux Falls man was sentenced to ten years in jail in April 2013 for trafficking in 500 grams of a mixture containing methamphetamine.
- In July 2012, a smoke shop in Sioux Falls was one of the targets of Operation Logjam—a nationwide DEA crackdown on the sale of synthetic drugs.
- A DEA investigation led to the June 2011 guilty plea of a Rapid City man who had been responsible for the distribution of pounds of marijuana in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
What it Takes to Become a DEA Agent in Sioux Falls
Individuals can take different routes to pursue careers with the DEA. One way to become a DEA agent is to have prior experience investigating drug conspiracies. Another is to obtain a secondary education. J.D., Master’s, and LL.B. degrees will qualify a person to apply to become a DEA agent. An additional route is to get a Bachelor’s degree and maintain a GPA of 2.95. This requirement is waived for those with three years or more of special skills, including accounting, engineering, information technology, shipping or aircraft piloting, or having served in the military.
Residents of Sioux Falls who want to learn how to become a DEA agent should contact the St. Louis Division to find out if there are jobs available in Sioux Falls. Additional requirements include being in general excellent health, both physically and mentally, including having good hearing and vision.
Recruits obtain their formal training with the DEA at its academy in Quantico, Virginia. The DEA is the site of academic coursework, while practical skills are honed at the FBI Academy on the same grounds. The latter includes becoming proficient with firearms, driving in pursuit and defensively, and getting in excellent physical condition.
Addressing the Drug Problem in Sioux Falls
The ease with which drugs can be distributed from Sioux Falls poses a threat to the whole Midwest region. For this reason, Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties were included in the Midwest HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) that the federal government created in 1996.
Marijuana – In 2010, 60% of those being treated for drug abuse in South Dakota were users of pot. Mexican drug traffickers bring hundreds of pounds of the drug into Sioux Falls from the southwest border. Smaller quantities are purchased in Sioux City and driven back to Sioux Falls. In addition, indoor growing operations in and around the city have become a source of high quality pot.
Methamphetamine – Mexican ice is the primary type of meth for sale in Sioux Falls. The purity of the drug has been dropping in recent years, indicating that dealers are cutting the drugs. Law enforcement officials in the Midwest HIDTA consider meth to be the primary drug threat in the area, primarily due to the high levels of violence associated with the sale and use of this drug.
Cocaine – Dealers have been aggressively selling crack cocaine in Sioux Falls. In 2009, an ounce of the drug fetched ten times the price in Sioux Falls than it would in Chicago. This price disparity has created a strong incentive for dealers to sell the drug in Sioux Falls. Unfortunately, the sale and use of the drug contributes to a climate of violence and has been associated with several homicides in Sioux Falls.