How much do you know about what a DEA agent does? If you guessed enforcing the laws regarding controlled substances, then you guessed right. Yes, DEA agents spend most of their time trying to dismantle the drug trade. It’s a huge task given the magnitude of the problem. Demand for illicit drugs has never wavered and drug cartels continue to evolve, using new and sometimes hard to counter tactics to traffic drugs across the U.S. border. Regardless of the challenges and risks faced, DEA agents continue to fulfill their duties. So what do DEA agents?
History Of The DEA
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began its war on the drug trade back in 1973 when the agency was founded. Drug use at the time was beginning to take a terrible toll on American society. As the number of drug related crimes committed began to increase, the government stepped in. They decided that there was now need for a federal agency that would handle all aspects of drug control in the U.S. Thus, by executive order, the DEA was born.
Once established, the DEA employed 1,470 special agents. Today, the DEA employs just about 5,000 special agents. Despite the growth in numbers, the drug trade continues to be a problem. It has become so problematic in some communities that residents are forced to hide indoors, while drug dealers roam the streets and bullets rain down. But the DEA is working to counteract the harmful effects of the drug trade in a number of ways.
What Do DEA Agents Do?
DEA agents investigate and arrest individuals who have committed drug-related crimes. During anti-drug operations, DEA agents will seize any asset that is suspected to be gained from, traceable to, or intended to be used for illicit drug trafficking. The DEA also utilizes pilots who patrol the borders searching for drug activity.
DEA agents work alongside law enforcement officials including state, local, federal authorities like the FBI, the FDA and Customs Enforcement. Together with these agencies, the DEA plans and executes operations that results in the arrest of individuals operating within the drug trade and the confiscation of illicit drugs within or making its way over the border. The DEA also monitors and prevents the movement of drugs in places like the southwest, where there is minor law enforcement presence and where the majority of illicit drugs enter the U.S.
DEA agents are also stationed around the globe in one of the 87 foreign offices owned by the DEA. There they work alongside local and international law enforcement agencies to investigate the activities of foreign nationals, organizations and governments suspected to be involved in the drug trade. Not only do DEA agents investigate these activities, they are also actively involved in destroying these narcotics organizations. The work of DEA agents operating in foreign offices has led to the arrest and extradition of seven major international narcotics traffickers. The DEA itself is responsible for overseeing the details of these anti-drug operations with foreign allies and maintaining these relations.
DEA agents are compensated for the work they do with an annual salary of between $49,746 and $55,483 for new hires. As their career progresses and promotions are earned, their salary increases. After working for four years, DEA agents can earn as much as $92,592 plus each year.