Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigate a number of types of crime in Louisiana ranging from the production and distribution of drugs to the large-scale sale of counterfeit goods.
Louisiana’s proximity to the Southwestern border has made it a major transportation corridor for illegal drugs destined for drug markets in the Eastern U.S. With the rebuilding of areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, a large number of legal and illegal immigrants have come from Mexico in search of work. Mexican drug traffickers have taken advantage of this situation to mask their activities in Louisiana.
What it Takes to Become an ICE Agent in Louisiana
Get a Degree – ICE has a number of requirements for applicants who seek to become special agents, also known as criminal investigators. The agency requires a high level of education: either a year of graduate school or one of several measures of distinction for a bachelor’s degree that include the following:
- Ranking in the top third of their class
- Either a B+ for courses in their major or a B for all courses
- Having been elected to a national honor society
Meet Basic and Experience Requirements – An additional requirement is that applicants be younger than 37. This can be waived for veterans. Being a U.S. citizen is an absolute requirement.
A number of applicants have prior experience in law enforcement or investigating criminal enterprises. This can help to substitute for part of the education requirement.
Participate in Training – Recruits start their careers by taking part in a 22 weeklong program at the National Law Enforcement Center in Georgia. Their training involves learning to use firearms, taking academic courses, and getting in top physical condition during this time.
Contact the Local Special Agent in Charge – Residents of Louisiana who want more information about how to become an ICE agent should contact the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for the state. This agent is located in New Orleans, and the phone number is 504-310-8800.
Criminal Investigations of Federal Crimes in Louisiana
Special agents of ICE had been involved in a number of arrests of U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in Louisiana.
Stopping Drug Traffickers – Drug trafficking in Louisiana is at such high levels that eight parishes are part of the Gulf HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). There is a drug task force located in every major city in Louisiana. While a number of drugs are sold in the region, the sale and abuse of heroin is a particular problem in New Orleans and contributes to high levels of violent and property crime in the city.
Interceptions in 2013 that involved ICE agents included the arrest of a couple from Shreveport for importing 9,000 painkillers aboard a cruise ship from Belize. In addition, ICE agents worked with other federal authorities and local law enforcement officers to arrest a business owner from Lafayette who was distributing $1.5 million worth of synthetic marijuana across several states.
Disrupting the Activities of Child Pornographers – ICE agents have worked to dismantle international child porn rings, as well as hunting child predators who have been active in Louisiana. In 2013, agents sought the help of the public in identifying a suspected child predator from northern Louisiana. They were able to trace him to the Jonesboro area with the aid of GPS data in two videos, and tips from the public led to his arrest.
Stopping Counterfeit Goods Trafficking – Proceeds from the sale of large quantities of counterfeit goods frequently end up in the coffers of organized crime. Agents of ICE have disrupted some large counterfeit operations in Louisiana, particularly around the XLVIII Super Bowl. Nationally, ICE agents in partnership with other federal agencies had seized over $13.6 million of fake NFL merchandise by January 2013 as part of Operation Red Zone.