DEA agents in Utah face several challenges because of the state’s location and demographics. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has identified Utah as being part of the Rocky Mountain high intensity drug trafficking area. On top of this, Utah is also a large state with open and isolated land that is increasingly being used for outdoor cannabis cultivation by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
DEA agents face an urban battle against the rising trend of black tar heroin, which is gradually replacing prescription drug abuse – Salt Lake City has one of the highest rates of abuse in the nation – because of the drug’s growing availability there. In the rural parts of Utah, addicts seeking treatment for stimulants such as methamphetamine have outpaced those for marijuana.
International Drug Cartels in Utah
Because of the major interstate highways that pass through Utah linking Mexico and Canada, several counties in Utah have been identified as high intensity drug trafficking areas:
- Salt Lake
Just recently in Davis County, after weeks of an undercover operation, DEA agents seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine, worth a street value of $250,000, from an operative of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. In another recent case DEA agents nabbed $500,000 worth of drugs in Salt Lake County after an 18-month operation against a Sinaloa Cartel cell that saw the seizure of 30 pounds of meth, a kilogram of cocaine, and a pound of heroin.
Besides major drug cartels, Utah also has one of the worst problems in the country with prescription drug abuse and misuse, that agents say has reached epidemic proportions nationwide. Recently DEA agents arrested a Salt Lake City judge on charges relating to the possession with intent to sell $10,000 worth of oxycodone pills.
Also recently two St. George men, a former owner of Executive Auto Group and an associate, were arrested by DEA agents and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on charges of conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, after having $166,000 seized from one of their private airplanes.
How to Become a DEA Agent in Utah
The process of applying for DEA jobs in Utah is long and arduous, and prospective agents must make their way through a vigorous screening process while meeting key prerequisites. The education requirements for DEA jobs in Utah include:
- B.A. degree
- M.A. degree
- LL.B. or J.D.
- Studies in the field of:
- Foreign languages
- Any other relevant field
DEA Careers in Utah
If prospective agents meet the minimum requirements and are selected to continue in the highly competitive application process, training will include:
- 18-week residency program
- Shoulder-fired weapons
- Defensive tactics
- Conduct in undercover operations and raids
- Operational planning
- Vehicle stops and arrests
Those considering DEA jobs and careers in Utah should check with one of the local field offices located in Salt Lake City and St. George.