DEA: Reality vs Perception

DEA: Reality vs Perception

U.S. Marshal Service. “CC Search.” U.S. Marshall Service, 4 June 2018,

What do you think when you first hear DEA?

Your first impression of a Drug Enforcement Agent might, be someone who stops international drug cartels or might head in the opposite and think, “These are the people making pot more expensive.” I asked a few of my closest family and friends what their first impressions were and they are what I expected to hear. My boyfriend said he pictured police officers who seize drugs and stop drugs from coming into the United States. My younger when asked answer, “Aren’t those the guys who are in the war on drugs with the narco’s. It also makes me think about what you are majoring in at collage and what you said you want your future job to be.” I was surprising my twelve-year-old brother knew that fact while my parents ,being much older, didn’t really know. When asked ,my father and mother replied, “They are people who work for the government.” They followed by answering my question with a question, “What does the DEA even stand for?”

The Drug Enforcement Administration

The Drug Enforcement Administration has not been around long compared to other Federal organizations. The were founded in 1973, making them 48-year-old administration. The purpose of the admiration is to stop the “manufacturing, distribution, and possession of prohibited and controlled substances”(Sacco 26). They are in charge of stopping the drug active and presence in our state and country. “President Richard Nixon, our 37th president, authorized the creation of the single-mission federal agency to enforce the CSA: the DEA”(“1990–1994” 75).

The role of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the United Sates

The DEA have arrested countless violators who disregarded drug laws in America. The war on drugs started in the early 1970’s when the rise of drug abuse began. There have many misconceptions on what began the war on drugs, whether it was marijuana, cocaine, or heroin.  The administration, at the time, was more concerned on heroin but as cocaine and new form of it, “crack”, began to flood the streets of America, “27% of the American public felt that drugs was the most important problem facing the country.” [1] Not too many people are aware that the arrival of cocaine in America started the war on drugs. Figure 1 shows us how over the span of 25 years, the majority of the DEA’s arrest have been cocaine-related offenses. We see that from the date this data starts, cocaine has been what is putting people in jail whether it be for manufacturing, distribution, or possession.

(Sacco 26). Figure 1. Number of DEA Domestic Arrests

Greatest Achievements

People who are not as familiar with the DEA might see seizing drugs as all they do. While seizing drugs is part of their job, capturing the people responsible for that is seen as a greater accomplishment. Cocaine and crack remained the number one drug challenge facing law enforcement, and the Colombian cartels and their cells were firmly entrenched in virtually every U.S. city and in many countries around the globe. A major victory for the DEA was the death of Pablo Escobar, a major columbian drug lord, on December 2, 1993. [2] Figure 2 shows Colombian and American authorities that joined forces to put a stop to the man responsible for the spreed of drugs in both country.

Will working for the DEA be similar to Agent Enrique Camarena case?

Does this sound like just another name to you? If I asked you for one fact on this man, would you be able to?

The most probable answer to these question would be yes to the first and no to the second. Not every one is aware of who Agent Enrique Camarena was and what he did for all of the DEA. He was an Agent who was stationed in Mexico in search of cocaine and marijuana traffickers. Agent Camarena was captured, tortured, and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico. Kiki gave his life in the fight against drugs and the nation mourned the loss of a hero. [3]

Even if I am the only person, I can make a difference

Agent Enrique Kiki Camerena

When looking into the career path of the DEA, you might think that you’er going to travel the world and live this life filled with adventure at every turn. Becoming a DEA agent isn’t going to be a consistent job ,where everyday is the same. While you most definitely wont be chasing drug traffickers in jungles or crash landing in islands, there are aspects of the job that are consistent, such as

  • Gathering evidence to help prosecute major violators of U.S drug laws
  • Partner with other law enforcement agencies to target violent drug offenders in local communities
  • Arrest subjects and seize assets connected to illicit drug trafficking
  • work with officials in foreign countries and share intelligence and target international criminals [4]

Still considering the DEA?

Congratulations, you made it till the end. Did you find this helpful and/or informative? If you did and still want to pursue with the career choice of Drug Enforcement Agent, it is pretty simple. There are quite a few qualifications and they include

  • Must be 21 years old, and no older that 36
  • Hold a U.S citizenship
  • Being able to obtain and retain a Top Secret security clearance
  • A bachelors degree (GPA of 2.95 or higher)
  • Disclose all drug use [4]

You could always find more information on the Drug Enforcement Administration official website or click the following link:

Work Cited

[1] Sacco, Lisa N. “Drug Enforcement in the United States: History, Policy, and Trends.” Congressional Research Service, 2014, pp. 1–30,

[2] “1990–1994.” Drug Enforcement Administration, 2014, pp. 67–76,

[3] “Just Think Twice.” Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena | Just Think Twice, 

[4] Woody, Christopher. “’Nobody Is Ever Going to Tell You’: 3 Theories Regarding Who Killed ‘The King of Cocaine’ Pablo Escobar.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 4 Oct. 2015, 


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