Special agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency fight a number of types of crime in Arkansas. High among them are the distribution of child pornography and multi-state conspiracies such as drug trafficking and money laundering.
Arkansas has some potentially high-profile targets such as military installations and Disney World. The Fort Hood shootings demonstrated the vulnerability of such installations. In addition, an Arkansas man was arrested on federal terrorism charges in 2013 for his attacks on the electrical grid in the state.
The state’s transportation grid, particularly I-40, makes Arkansas vulnerable to drug traffickers and those would import illegal immigrants for employment. Estimates from 2009 and 2010 put the number of unauthorized residents of the state at 50,000.
Becoming an ICE Agent in Arkansas
A high level of education is required to become a special agent with ICE. Although having experience in law enforcement and investigating crimes can help to substitute for the education requirement, applicants are generally required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. A year of graduate education is required unless the applicant has met the following standards for their undergraduate education:
- Election to a national honor society
- Possession of a high GPA:
- A B in all courses taken overall or in the final two years
- A B+ in all course in the major in the final two years or overall
- Rank in the top third of the class
In addition, applicants must be younger than 37, although this can be waived for veterans, and must be citizens of the U.S.
Once they have been hired, recruits start their careers with ICE by becoming highly trained. This involves 22 weeks of paid training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Georgia. Training ranges from academic coursework to rigorous physical conditioning. Recruits are also trained in the use of firearms. They will be periodically tested for drugs.
Residents of Arkansas who want to learn how to become an ICE agent in the state should contact the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for Arkansas. This involves calling the New Orleans office at 504-310-8800.
Recent ICE Arrests in Arkansas
Criminal investigators working for ICE in Arkansas have made a number of high profile arrests in recent years for a variety of types of different crimes.
Supplying Illegal Aliens to Businesses – ICE agents working with the FBI and local authorities identified an Arkansas businessman who provided illegal aliens with counterfeit work documents and sold their labor to different companies. They found that he had made approximately $6.4 million with this scheme. The individual received a 30 month federal prison sentence for this crime in 2012.
Money Laundering – Working with local authorities, ICE agents helped to dismantle a multi-state money laundering and drug scheme. Two individuals operated a meth and crack ring in Los Angeles and funneled their profits through two businesses in Springdale. Seven people received federal prison sentences for their role in this operation.
Child Pornography – Agents with ICE disrupted seven different operations involving child pornography in 2012 and 2013. The crimes ranged from the downloading of images to the production of child porn. In two separate cases, Arkansas men were sentenced in 2012 to 60 and 70 years in jail respectively for the latter crime.