Not only is the ICE Homeland Security Investigations section important for South Carolina, tackling criminal activity relating to child endangerment, drugs, and customs issues; South Carolina is important for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Home of the newest of three Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in the nation, Charleston hosts a variety of law enforcement agencies, whose newly hired officers, agents and specialists come from around the country and world to obtain professional state-of-the-art instruction. ICE agents, of course, are among those trained in FLETC Charleston.
Other recent graduates of the ICE Academy in Charleston include:
- Sheriff’s office officials from South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina
- Police officials from Colorado, Arizona, Virginia, and Rhode Island
- 27 El Salvadoran and Panamanian elite law enforcement officers
ICE Career Preparation
Learning how to become an ICE Agent in advance is crucial to making a successful bid for available jobs. Prospective ICE Criminal Investigators will need to meet a few requirements before even considering a future with the agency:
- Be a US citizen
- Have no felony convictions
- Unless a federal law enforcement officer or qualifying veteran, be between the ages of 21-37
- Meet the education requirement through one of the following:
- Bachelor degree plus at least one year of post-graduate study
- Bachelor degree and one of the following exceptional academic qualifications:
- Graduation in the top third of major or class
- Membership in a non-freshman honors society
- 3.0 cumulative GPA or in the last two years of study
- 3.5 GPA in major field of study
Experience and Training
Candidates without a relevant degree need to fulfill the experience prerequisite, which mandates at least a year of experience related to law enforcement and criminal investigations.
By pursuing a school program in one of the following fields, prospective agents may fulfill the education and experience requirement simultaneously:
- Criminal Justice
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Law Enforcement
- Police Science
If applicants are chosen for hire, their next step will be to complete 22 weeks of intensive training at one of the nation’s three FLETCs.
Recent ICE Busts in South Carolina
As their name implies, ICE Criminal Investigators tackle – sometimes literally – the perpetrators of federal crimes relating to customs and immigration. In South Carolina this has recently involved cases related to:
- Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals: $3.9 million in counterfeit medicine was recently seized by ICE Agents in Columbia, which included pirated Viagra, Proscar, and Cialis. Potentially harming their consumers, and doing certain harm to legitimate businesses which impacts American jobs and the economy, counterfeit drugs often receive less attention than their better known illegal street drug counterparts.
- Immigration Document Fraud: 11 suspects were recently arrested in Myrtle Beach after they tried to buy immigration papers from someone they thought was a corrupt US Citizenship and Immigration Services employee, but who was actually an undercover ICE Agent. After paying between $5,000 and $6,000 for the fake documents they were taken into custody.
- Gang Enforcement: ICE Agents recently arrested eight suspected Surenos 13 gang members during Operation Community Shield around the York County-Rock Hill area. The suspects face deportation and one with a prior criminal record who had already been deported once may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.