Maine has a 611 mile border with Canada along with easily accessible transportation routes to the rest of the Northeast. I-95 runs through Maine and terminates at the Canadian border. This highway is known as the New England pipeline, since it is used to transport drugs so frequently.
ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) agents are involved in the fight against drug trafficking in the state. Asian drug organizations in Canada bring drugs into Maine and use the same routes to transport weapons, cocaine, and drug proceeds to Canada.
Maine’s accessibility to the rest of New England has facilitated the transport of drugs by major drug trafficking organizations, and a Dominican drug trafficker was busted in Bangor in 2011.
Although the population of illegal immigrants in Maine was estimated to be less than 10,000 in 2009 and 2010, ICE agents routinely disrupt workplace immigration violations.
Becoming an ICE Agent in Maine
ICE has high standards for those who seek special agent careers with the agency and performs a full background check on all applicants.
A number of applicants have prior law enforcement experience or have a background in investigating criminal enterprises. This can help to substitute for part of the agency’s rigorous educational requirement.
Special agents are required to have had a year of graduate study or to have achieved one of the following with their bachelor’s degree:
- One of the following GPAs for the final two years or the full duration of their degree:
- B+ in courses for the major
- B in all courses
- Election to a national honor society
- A rank in the top third of the class
Although this can be waived for veterans, applicants are required to be younger than 37. They are also required to be citizens of the U.S.
Recruits receive thorough training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center (FELC) in Georgia. This takes 22 weeks and includes the following types of training:
- Physical fitness
- Firearms training
Maine residents who want to learn more about how to become an ICE special agent should contact the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for the state who is located in Boston. This agent can be reached at 617-565-3100.
Combating Federal Crime in Maine
Special agents of ICE have been active in disrupting criminal enterprises in Maine. Some of their operations are listed below.
ICE agents worked with those of a number of different agencies to disrupt a 2012 conspiracy involving the growth of over 1,000 marijuana plants in Maine. As part of the same case, over 2,900 plants were seized in 2009.
A ring that distributed large amounts of cocaine from New York City to Waldo County was disrupted in 2010. Agents of ICE worked with those of the DEA and the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department in this operation.
As part of the large-scale Operation Predator, ICE agents worked with the Maine State Police to identify an Augusta man who had taken pictures and video of his abuse of two children. In addition, he possessed other images that had been downloaded from the Internet. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2013 for these crimes.
In another 2013 conviction, a man from Hampden was sentenced to over 12 years in prison for having used a file-sharing network to download child pornography. The case started in Italy, and ICE agents were able to track his activities to his residence in Maine.
As part of their national policy of auditing the I-9 forms of companies suspected of hiring unauthorized workers, ICE fined eight Maine employers nearly $79,000 in fiscal year 2012. In 2011, two individuals were charged with harboring and hiring unauthorized aliens at three Mexican restaurants in Westbrook and Biddeford.