Vermont has a high profile terrorist target with its Yankee Nuclear Plant. In addition, its proximity to Canada causes serious homeland security concerns. Montreal, with its known terrorist cells, is only 72 miles north of the border and is a short drive from Vermont. With its two interstate highways, high volumes of traffic travel to both Quebec and Montreal through Vermont.
The first known case of terrorists with Middle Eastern ties bringing explosives into the US took place in Vermont in 1998. Border security into the US is easily breached during the winter months since Lake Memphremagog and Lake Champlain can freeze over, allowing potential criminals to enter the US by snowmobile, ATV, or on foot.
Border patrol efforts in this area have been greatly strengthened in recent years, and ICE has a 24/7 fusion center in Williston. This Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) helps law enforcement officers investigate crimes by foreign aliens.
Vermont’s location in New England makes it easily accessible by drug traffickers who work throughout the region. Burlington is an easy stop on the way to Boston, and Mexican cartels have been active in the state. Heroin traffickers from Philadelphia have been busted supplying the drug to individuals in Vermont who are willing to pay six times as much for the drug as it would sell for in a big city.
Preparing to Become a Federal Law Enforcement Officer
According to the Bureau of Justice, 540 federal officers worked in Vermont in 2008 and had the power to arrest people and carry firearms. The eight federal law enforcement and six homeland security agencies active in Vermont provide opportunities for jobs for citizens of the state who seek careers as federal law enforcement agents.
Often the first step in becoming a federal law enforcement officer is to get a bachelor’s degree. Most agencies that hire federal officers require this degree at a minimum to get hired. Once recruits have been screened extensively and hired, they are thoroughly trained for their work in the field. Training typically includes formal classroom education augmented with rigorous physical conditioning. Agents also gain proficiency in the use of firearms and learn advanced driving skills.
FBI – The FBI has investigated some very high profile cases in Vermont, including the case of confessed serial killer Israel Keyes. He spent a substantial amount of time in the state and was known to have murdered a man and woman from Essex. The FBI strongly suspects that he did not confess to all of his killings before his death by suicide and made his information public in hopes of obtaining leads from the public.
Agents in Vermont also investigated the $1.9 million armored car heist from Rutland in 2002, although they were not able to identify the culprits. 2013 investigations in Vermont included the following:
- The arrest of an Indiana man who sent a bomb by UPS to kill a Vermont man who had defrauded him on an Internet sale.
- The investigation of spas in Bennington for alleged human trafficking and prostitution.
DEA – Vermont has a serious drug problem with the combination of having the highest rate of the use of illegal drugs in the country and being an integral part of New England’s transportation network. The state has rates of prescription drug abuse, and many addicts have switched to opiates like heroin, because they are cheaper.
The federal government considered the drug problem in Chittendon County to be severe enough to include it in the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) designation.
DEA agents in Vermont frequently work with state and local agents along with those from other federal agencies to investigate conspiracies in drug trafficking and money laundering. They have formed community impact teams to focus on areas of Vermont where the problem is most acute.
Notable successes that had DEA involvement in 2013 included the following:
- The arrest of two New York men in Burlington and the recovery of $126,000 worth of heroin
- The dismantling of a large heroin trafficking ring in Essex
Federal Law Enforcement Offices in Vermont
- Beecher Falls
- Derby Line
- St. Albans