Specials agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency fight an array of criminal activity in Georgia. For instance, ICE has spearheaded very high profile arrests of human traffickers—disrupting one ring that was active throughout the Southeast.
In addition, ICE agents are involved in the fight against drug trafficking in Georgia. The federal government considered the situation perilous enough to have designated the city of Atlanta and its airport along with 12 counties in Georgia to be part of the Atlanta High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
The Atlanta area serves as a major hub for Mexican drug traffickers that move product from the Southwestern border to eastern drug markets using interstates 20, 75, and 85, which all converge in Atlanta. In addition to transporting large quantities of cocaine, the traffickers have been importing large quantities of liquid methamphetamine to the Atlanta area where it is converted to crystal meth.
The illicit proceeds from the sale of drugs in Georgia are moved back to Mexico from Atlanta. Authorities recovered nearly $15 million in bulk cash destined for the Southwestern border from highway interdictions in 2010 alone.
Meeting Requirements to Become an ICE Agent in Georgia
ICE has rigorous requirements for those seeking special agent careers in Georgia.
Bachelor’s Degree or Graduate Study – The agency requires applicants to have either a year of graduate school or to have attained certain measures of distinction while earning a bachelor’s degree. These can include one of the following:
- A B average in their coursework (all of it or during the last two years)
- A B+ average in courses for their minors (all of it or during the last two years)
- Election to a national honor society
- A rank in the top third of their class
General Expectations of All Candidates – Experience in areas such as law enforcement or having a background in criminal investigations can substitute for part of the education requirement. In addition, applicants must be younger than 37. This age requirement can be waived for veterans. Applicants must also be citizens of the United States.
Submitting an Application – When these requirements have been met, applicants should monitor the USA Jobs website for ICE criminal investigator jobs in Georgia. Applicants will be thoroughly screened with a background check. In addition, recruits are expected to be in top physical condition and are subject to random drug tests.
Participating in Training – After being hired, recruits undergo 22 weeks of training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center (FELC) in Georgia. This training involves a combination of academic coursework with such practical training as use of firearms and arrest procedures.
Contacting a Recruiter – Residents of Georgia who want to learn more about becoming an ICE agent should contact the Atlanta Field Office at 404-346-2300 and speak with the Special Agent in Charge or SAC.
Recent ICE Busts that have Taken Place in Georgia
ICE agents in Georgia have been highly active at disrupting an array of different types of criminal activities. Some of these are shown below.
Disrupting Human Trafficking – ICE agents led a lengthy multi-agency investigation into an international sex trafficking ring based in Savannah that operated in Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. Some of the victims were lured from Mexico, Nicaragua and other places with promises of the American dream and then were forced into prostitution. In addition, the traffickers threatened some of the women’s children in Mexico.
Operation Dark Night led to the rescue of as many as 11 victims in January 2013 along with the arrest of 13 people on criminal charges and 44 on administrative charges. The leader of the ring pled guilty in September 2013 and faces a possible life sentence.
ICE agents assisted in a 2012 human trafficking case that involved two 15 year old boys. The Georgia man responsible was sentenced to 80 years in jail.
Dismantling MS-13 – Atlanta has had gang problems as extensive as those in many of the nation’s largest cities. The violent El Salvadoran-based gang MS-13 has been active in the city since 2005. Known for their gruesome murders, MS-13 members have been known to operat in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties.
ICE agents partnered with those of the FBI to lead multi-agency efforts to dismantle MS-13 gang activities in Georgia. Over 75 local members of this gang have been charged, arrested, and/or deported. In 2013, four metropolitan Atlanta gang members were found guilty of a variety of crimes, including committing multiple murders.
Stopping Child Predators – ICE is very active in investigating child predators and pornographers and stopping them from exploiting children. In one 2013 case, a child predator was sentenced to a 110 year federal prison term. His case started with a Danish investigation, and he was tracked back to Georgia. Three victims were rescued from him as part of Operation Sunflower.
Interdicting Drug Traffickers – Along with a number of other agencies, ICE conducts investigations to thwart drug traffickers. In one such case in 2012, ICE agents received intelligence that a shipment of marijuana was due to be unloaded from a vegetable truck at a Gainesville warehouse. Along with other law enforcement officials, the agents found over $3 million worth of the drug in a vegetable truck under peppers, cilantro, and other green vegetables.