Agents of ICE (Immigration and Customs) are involved in disrupting a variety of criminal conspiracies in Massachusetts. The state has a tremendous problem with gangs that contribute to violence in the state, and ICE agents have been active in anti-gang efforts. An FBI gang threat assessment from 2011 estimated that there were over 175 gangs active in the state. The situation is particularly perilous in Boston.
ICE agents are also part of the fight against drug traffickers in Massachusetts. Drug trafficking is at such high levels in the state that the federal government designated six Massachusetts counties as part of the New England HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). The two major drug distribution hubs in this region are located in Massachusetts: the Springfield/Hartford and Lowell/Lawrence areas.
ICE’s pioneering efforts to identify child pornographers and rescue their victims has led to John MacKinnon and his team being one of the finalists for the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal for 2013. Based in Boston, the Operation Holitna Team has developed new techniques for forensic investigations and rescued over 167 child pornography victims since 2010. Their tactics are being adopted by authorities the world over.
Qualifying for ICE Agent Jobs in Massachusetts
ICE has rigorous requirements for those who seek careers as special agents:
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Having completed either a year of graduate school or a bachelor’s degree with one of the following marks of distinction:
- Being younger than 37 (Veterans can be excluded from this requirement.)
- A year of graduate study or a bachelor’s degree (a B in all courses or B+ in courses for the major) with the following distinctions:
- Election to a national honor society
- A rank in the top third of their class
A number of applicants for jobs as special agents already have formal experience in law enforcement or investigating crimes. This can count towards part of the educational requirement.
Recruits are trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Georgia. This 22-week process includes the following components:
- Academic study
- Training in using firearms
- Physical fitness conditioning
Residents of Massachusetts who want to learn more about how to become an ICE special agent should contact the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for the state. This agent is located in Boston and can be reached at 617-565-3100.
Massachusetts ICE Operations in 2013
The efforts of ICE special agents resulted in a number of arrests for a variety of types of crime in 2013. Some of these operations are listed below.
Stopping the Exploitation of Minors – A number of ICE cases in Massachusetts in 2013 involved the exploitation of children. ICE special agents led an extensive worldwide investigation that resulted in a sentence of over 26 years for a British citizen in Worcester. He had built a torture chamber in his basement. In addition to trading child pornography, he actively sought a child to abduct, rape, murder, and cannibalize.
Arresting Violent Gang Members – ICE agents took part in the arrest of 27 Massachusetts gang members in January 2013. They had been involved in gun, drug, and gang activity in Dorchester and Roxbury. This investigation had been taking place since 2011 and involved over 300 law enforcement officers.
Disrupting a Human Trafficking Operation – The operators of six massage parlors were arrested in May 2013 for carrying out an extensive human trafficking operation in multiple communities in Massachusetts. ICE agents worked with the Massachusetts State Police and local authorities to identify and arrest the two people involved.
Arresting a Heroin Trafficker – ICE agents arrested a Dominican citizen for passport fraud. During this process, they recovered a semi-automatic pistol that was loaded with armor-piercing ammunition. He pled guilty in 2013 to firearms charges and possessing heroin with the intent to distribute it.