What Do DEA Special Agents Do?

A special agent is one of the most important jobs in the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, but many people wonder what DEA special agents do. Special agents must have a college degree and experience in one key area, but they also need to go through a number of tests and examinations that ensure they can track down criminals and can bring those criminals to justice. If working as a DEA agent interests you, you’ll want to know more about what those agents do every day.

Create and Launch New Programs

Those looking into what DEA special agents do often don’t realize that these men and women are responsible for designing and creating new programs that will stop the spread of drugs. They work on task forces that introduce programs designed to help citizens call in confidential and anonymous tips about the drug dealers working in their cities, and they create programs that show kids and adults the dangers of drug abuse. Many of these programs are joint programs between the DEA and another government agency, and special agents will work with members of those agencies to keep the program running smoothly.

Collect Evidence

One of the jobs associated with a DEA special agent is evidence collection. When a crime occurs, law enforcement must secure any evidence that will put a criminal behind bars and ensure the chain of custody remains intact. This refers to the way in which the evidence passes from agent to agent. You’ll learn more about the evidence collection techniques when you go through the special agent training process. Special agents will also appear in court to talk about the evidence collected and to present that evidence to the judge and jury.

Make Arrests

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, special agents will also make arrests when needed. DEA agents often deal with criminals suspected of drug manufacturing, drug distribution or drug trafficking. Those agents read suspects their Miranda rights, place them in handcuffs and secure them in an official vehicle before transporting those criminals to a local jail. Special agents learn the importance of following proper procedure during their initial training. The DEA will walk you through the steps and also let you practice on fellow agents until you feel comfortable and confident with the procedures.

Investigate Drug Crimes

When looking at what DEA special agents do, many people think that agents work in the field, take down criminals and do other tasks without thinking about the investigation that they do. Investigation is one of the major tasks of a special agent. The DEA used diversion investigators to find proof and evidence of crimes, but special agents work with those investigators to find connections between lower level dealers and those guilty of manufacturing and transporting those drugs. Depending on where you accept a post, you might spend more time behind a desk and working on computer investigations than you do in the field.

Related Resource: Homeland Security Degree

The Drug Enforcement Administration is one of the largest government agencies in the country. It uses a number of agents and investigators working in the field to find and track the movement of illegal drugs. Before you apply for one of the positions with the DEA, you need to think about what DEA special agents do and the duties you might do every day.