How to Become an ATF Agent in Mississippi

Special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) work closely with officers from local law enforcement agencies to help reduce violent crime in Mississippi.  They do so by targeting career criminals and criminal conspiracies that involve the use of illegal firearms, arson, and explosives.

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In addition, these agents investigate complex schemes of illegal tobacco sales that serve to defraud the U.S. government and the state of Mississippi of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

Becoming an ATF Special Agent in Mississippi

Residents of Mississippi who want to join the ranks of the ATF will need to meet a number of requirements before they can be considered for employment.  These requirements range from such basics as being a U.S. citizen to having a specialized employment history or educational background.  Applicants can join the ATF at three different grade levels.  Each has a different set of prerequisites for employment.

GL-5 Applicants – Those seeking jobs at the GL-5 level need to either have a bachelor’s degree or three years of specialized experience such as work at the GL-4 level or as a uniformed LEO.

GL-7 Applicants – To get hired at this level, applicants must have either a year of graduate work or have obtained a bachelor’s degree with distinction in one of the following or a related field:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Criminal justice
  • Political science

Another option is to have more specialized experience such as a year of work equivalent to the GL-5 level.  This includes having experience conducting criminal investigations.

GL-9 Applicants – Careers at the GL-9 level require a greater degree of specialized experience or a higher level of education.  To qualify with education, applicants must have either two years of graduate level education or a master’s degree in one of the fields listed above.  Another option is to have a J.D. or LL.B. degree.

Applicants can meet these requirements with a combination of education and experience.  The ATF requires that official transcripts be submitted as part of the application process.

ATF Special Agent Training

Being a special agent for the ATF is a demanding job, and the agency strongly encourages recruits to be in good physical shape before they start their two phases of training.  Recruits must pass each of the following courses:

  • Criminal Investigator Training Program
  • Special Agent Basic Training

The first phase of training takes place in Georgia at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).  Recruits study with those of other federal agencies to learn the basics of investigation.

Prospective agents learn skills specific to the ATF during their second course.  They learn how to investigate firearms trafficking, identify firearms, and handle arson, fire, and explosive cases.  In addition, they study how to disrupt schemes to illegally sell alcohol, firearms, and tobacco.

ATF Successes in Mississippi

Working closely with agents of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, agents of the ATF have helped to disrupt a number of high-profile criminal conspiracies in Mississippi.

Illegal Tobacco Sales – Multiple agencies investigated two schemes to sell tobacco illegally and avoid paying taxes on the goods.  In 2010, a man from Kentucky was prosecuted in Oxford for illegally distributing cigarettes and laundering the proceeds.  He forfeited $3 million worth of property interests.

In another case from 2010, the ATF seized one of the largest amounts of cash in its history from tobacco farmers who made false monthly reports.  The two men ultimately forfeited $8 million in revenue for their attempts to defraud the public.

Narcotics Trafficking – Fifteen individuals were indicted from a shared investigation into a drug trafficking organization that was importing large quantities of drugs from Mexico, Texas, and California to the Brusha Community of Scott County.  In the bust, ATF agents seized a large quantity of drugs and approximately twenty firearms.

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