There are several paths that can lead to becoming a DEA special agent in Wyoming. Many DEA job applicants already have general law enforcement experience, and some even have experience conducting drug investigations. Other candidates meet the requirements for formal training at the DEA Academy by getting a J.D. or LL.B. degree. Yet another way to enter the DEA is to have a bachelor’s degree along with additional qualifications related to any one of a host of specializations including accounting, foreign languages, or being an airplane pilot or first mate of a ship.
Training for DEA agents takes place in Quantico, Virginia. Two different academies are involved. Formal coursework takes place at the DEA Academy, while practical training such as firearms usage, pursuit driving, and physical conditioning is conducted at the FBI Academy on the same grounds.
DEA agents in Wyoming operate under the auspices of the Denver Division of the DEA. The Salt Lake City Resident Office is directly responsible for DEA operations in Wyoming.
The Rocky Mountain HIDTA
In addition to drug smugglers based in the U.S., Mexican drug traffickers are active in Wyoming. The degree of drug smuggling and abuse in Wyoming has led to a number of Wyoming counties being part of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). DEA agents active in Wyoming have spearheaded some significant busts in the state in recent years:
- The illicit spread of drugs can take part within the medical establishment as shown by a January 2013 indictment. By studying records, DEA agents were able to ascertain that a Wyoming pharmacy manager had diverted over 2,700 tablets of prescription pain relief medications for sale on the black market by creating fake patients. The drugs involved included Methadone, Vicodin, Dilaudid, and oxycodone.
- A number of men were sentenced in Michigan in 2012 and 2013 for their part in a $12 million Wyoming marijuana bust. A DEA special agent in Indiana had notified Wyoming authorities of the exact location where the 12,000 pounds of drugs were to be unloaded.
- In August 2012, 21 men were arrested for their role in at least four different methamphetamine trafficking operations in Sheridan and surrounding areas. The 2 year investigation into this trafficking was conducted by the DEA in conjunction with the Police Department in Sheridan and the Sheriff’s Office in Sheridan County, along with the Northeast Enforcement Team (NEET). Additional arrests were expected.
Addressing the Drug Problem in Wyoming
The rate of deaths from drug use in Wyoming was about the national average in 2007. During that year, half as many people died from drug use as from motor vehicle accidents in Wyoming.
Methamphetamine – The most serious drug threat in the state is methamphetamine, which is distributed by Mexican drug cartels. While the rate of abuse in treatment centers is lower than that for marijuana, law enforcement officials are greatly concerned about methamphetamine abuse. Abuse of this drug is associated with increases in violent crime, child abuse, and domestic violence.
Marijuana – Marijuana is the most common drug likely to be abused by people seeking drug treatment in Wyoming. Pot in Wyoming traditionally comes from both Mexico and British Columbia, along with being locally grown. Authorities are bracing for an increase in crimes involving pot, because Wyoming is so close to Colorado. In 2012, Colorado’s state constitution was amended to allow anyone over 21 to use the drug.