Nevada had the highest percentage of illegal immigrants in the country in 2010. The 190,000 unauthorized residents constituted 7.2% of the state’s population that year.
ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) special agents concentrate on identifying those illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, and then deporting them. Recent high-profile ICE investigations of illegal immigrants in the state included:
- Bulk cash smuggling by the wife of a Philippines senator
- The operation of a large-scale mill for counterfeit documents
Requirements and Training to Become an ICE Agent in Nevada
ICE special agents are also known as criminal investigators. These elite agents are highly screened and thoroughly trained to carry out their mission of protecting US security. The efforts of ICE criminal investigators in Nevada had ramifications both nationally and internationally.
Basic Requirements – Individuals must be U.S. citizens to apply for jobs as ICE special agents. This requirement cannot be waived. In contrast, the requirement that applicants must be younger than 37 can be waived for veterans.
Educational Requirements – ICE has stringent educational requirements. Applicants must have one of these two educational backgrounds:
- Graduate school: at least a year
- Bachelor’s degree: with a mark of distinction
Qualifying attributes for a bachelor’s degree include having a B in all courses or a B+ in courses for the major. These averages can be for the full degree or the final two years. Additional options include election to a national honor society or having a rank in the top third of the class.
LEO Applications – Having one of the following two types of backgrounds can help to substitute for some of the educational requirements:
- Service as a law enforcement official
- Having investigating crimes
Training – ICE special agents start their careers with training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center. This entails a 22-week stint in Brunswick, Georgia. Recruits learn a variety of things ranging from academic coursework to such practical matters as using firearms and becoming in top-notch physical condition.
To Find Out More Information – Nevada residents who want to find out more about how to become an ICE special agent should contact the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) for the state. This entails calling the Minneapolis/St. Paul Office at 952-853-2940.
Nevada ICE Operations
Special agents in Nevada investigate a variety of federal crimes in the state. In addition to investigating such violent crimes as the sexual exploitation of children, ICE agents have disrupted a number of white-collar criminal operations in Nevada. A number of these have been based in Las Vegas. Some of the crimes that ICE agents intervened in are detailed below.
Cyber Theft and Sale of Financial Information – As part of the federal government’s Financial Fraud Investment Task Force, agents with ICE and the Secret Service arrested 19 people—five of them in Las Vegas. They had taken part in a large cyber operation of identity theft and the trafficking of counterfeit credit cards that, although based primarily in Las Vegas, took place around the world. The investigation was known as Operation ‘Open Market.’
Sale of Counterfeit Documents – Two illegal immigrants were sentenced to several years in prison for creating high quality phony documents such as:
- Driver’s licenses
- Social Security cards
- Green cards
They sold these documents at swap meets in the Las Vegas area until they were arrested from the combined efforts of ICE agents and members of the local police department.
Bulk Cash Smuggling – This case started in 2010 when customs officials found $40,000 in undeclared currency in a woman’s luggage when she arrived in Las Vegas from the Philippines. An ICE investigation subsequently found that she had committed two types of crimes:
- Smuggled cash into the country
- Made bank deposits structured to avoid the IRS’s reporting requirements
She was sentenced to home confinement for five months.