The DEA in Washington State faces several different areas that present a challenge. Chief among them is the I-5 interstate corridor, a major trafficking route for illegal drugs between Mexico and Canada, which passes through four of the top five most populous cities of the state: Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Bellevue.
DEA agents in Washington must be able to work with all kinds of people in a variety of terrain. The Canadian province of British Columbia, just north of the border, is a major producer of marijuana that is often times smuggled along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Cascade Mountain Range. Washington also has a history of motorcycle gangs that are responsible for distributing methamphetamine, a drug notoriously popular in the rural areas throughout the state. DEA agents must also deal with high-school teenagers in the suburbs of Seattle, among whom prescription drug abuse is widespread.
Recent DEA Operations in Washington
- In a two-state operation DEA agents arrested 41 people, breaking up an Oxycontin drug smuggling ring that saw L.A. residents flying to Spokane to sell their prescription medication in a scheme that is estimated to have netted the suspects $20 million.
- DEA agents recently helped execute search warrants at establishments in Western Washington purporting to be acting as medical marijuana distributors, but who in fact were in violation of state and federal law. Businesses in Pierce, Thurston, and King counties were searched and the operation resulted in 17 arrests.
- Yakima Tribal Police and DEA agents recently tracked down a marijuana grow operation on Reservation land being guarded by a camouflaged Mexican national, consisting of 8,850 marijuana plants.
Careers and Jobs with the DEA in Washington
The process of becoming a DEA agent in Washington is an extensive one. Applicants must first be qualified and have competitive backgrounds, skills, and abilities. The minimum requirements to become a DEA agent include either having previous law enforcement experience working with drug enforcement, a bachelor’s degree or higher with a 2.95 minimum GPA, or a bachelor’s degree along with significant experience in:
- Foreign languages
- Information technology
- Piloting aircraft
- Operation of a sea vessel
DEA training involves an 18-week residency program that includes firearms, law, drug recognition, physical fitness and defense conditioning, report writing, and leadership training. Prospective agents wanting to learn more about how to join the DEA in Washington can check with recruiters located in field offices throughout the state in: