Although Maryland’s violent crime rate in 2012 was the lowest since 1977, Baltimore has seen a spike of violence in 2013. As of June 2013, the number of homicides was the highest in six years. Gang violence contributes to this trend, and such violent international gangs as MS-13 and the Crips are active throughout parts of Maryland.
Agents from ICE (Immigrations and Custom Enforcement) are helping to fight this trend by identifying violent transnational gang members and thwarting drug traffickers at every opportunity.
Maryland’s diverse and extensive transportation system enables drug traffickers to bring drugs to and through the region. I-95 provides easy access to drug markets such as New York City, Miami, and Atlanta. In addition, I-70 and I-83 are major transportation routes for drugs. Illicit drugs are also brought in containers to the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest container ports in the country.
Becoming an ICE Agent in Maryland
Prospective special agents for ICE, also known as criminal investigators, must meet a number of requirements to be able to apply for these jobs.
Academic Requirements – The agency has rigorous education requirements that include either having had a year of graduate school or one of the following marks of distinctions for a bachelor’s degree:
- A rank in the top third of their class
- A B grade in all courses or a B+ in courses for their major
- Election to a national honor society
Experience as a Substitution for Education – Having relevant experience can substitute for part of this educational requirement. This can include one of the following:
- Having worked in law enforcement
- Having worked as a criminal investigator
Required Training – Recruits start their careers by training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Georgia. They are paid for the 22 weeks they spend there. Training involves a mix of academics, physical fitness training, and becoming proficient with firearms.
Contacting the Local Field Office – Maryland residents who want to learn more about becoming an ICE agent are encouraged to contact the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for Maryland who is located in Baltimore. The phone number to reach this agent is 410-962-2620.
ICE Interceptions in 2013
ICE special agents are involved in stopping a wide array of criminal activities in Maryland. Some of their successful operations from 2013 are shown below.
Arresting Violent Gang Members – ICE agents were involved in five separate cases that led the arrest of MS-13 gang members for various crimes. Membership in the gang is considered as taking part in racketeering, because of the number of crimes that this group commits. Branches operate throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s County.
In two cases, members of this gang were implicated in murders. One was deported to Honduras for his role in a murder there. Three other MS-13 members were charged in a murder conspiracy for killing a rival gang member in Capital Heights.
Seizing the Silk Road Website – Until 2013, the Silk Road website sold large quantities of drugs over the Internet. Over 950,000 users had made $1.2 billion in transactions since early 2011. ICE agents first became aware of this website in Baltimore and worked with other agencies to track down the leader of Silk Road, who was indicted in Maryland for the following crimes:
- Distributing a controlled substance
- Attempting to murder a witness
- Using interstate commerce in the commission of murder for hire
Stopping Sex Trafficking Rings – In one of a number of sex trafficking cases from 2013, ICE agents in Maryland worked with local authorities to dismantle brothels that were based in Easton and Annapolis and operated across several states. The ringleader was sentenced to 35 years in prison for a number of crimes. In addition to engaging in sex trafficking, he threatened members of the community who assisted his prostitutes after their rescue, in addition to other pimps.