Fighting the Jalisco Cartel as an Intelligence Analyst
Last Updated: Thursday September 14, 2023
This is the third installment in a series of profiles featuring DEA special agents, diversion investigators, chemists, and more. Learn about the tough but fulfilling, fascinating, and vital work these DEA personnel do, as well as the many different ways to get involved in fighting drug abuse.
For our third profile, we will be interviewing Intelligence Analyst Joey.
What motivated you to join the DEA?
I have always been interested in national security and intelligence, but it wasn't until college that I became interested in counter-narcotics. Studying Justice and Law with a concentration in Terrorism and Security Studies at American University, I learned about the crime and conflict nexus and became very interested in the ways that terrorist organizations and transnational criminal organizations work together despite their different motivations. That interest brought the DEA to the top of my list when applying to federal jobs.
What does an average day as an intelligence analyst look like for you?
I was previously assigned to the Baltimore District Office where, as a field intelligence analyst, I worked with a group of special agents investigating drug trafficking organizations in the Baltimore area. I recently transferred to the Washington Division Office, where I act in a strategic intelligence capacity. On an average day as a strategic intelligence analyst, I read through the reporting from all DEA cases in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to identify any new or significant drug trafficking trends related to my areas of focus. Currently, my areas of focus are methamphetamine, marijuana, and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). If I find any interesting trends, whether they be a new or significant transportation method, type of packaging, drug mixture, source of supply, etc., I prepare strategic intelligence reports to inform DEA leadership and/or counterparts throughout the DEA. The role of a strategic intelligence analyst may seem less glamorous than that of an analyst supporting investigations in the field, but it’s right up my alley as a person who has always enjoyed reading, writing, editing, and understanding the big picture.
What has been your proudest moment as an intelligence analyst thus far?
My proudest moment as an intelligence analyst was when I presented on behalf of the DEA to a group of high school students attending the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) in Washington, D.C. I am an alumnus of NSLC and it made me proud to pay it forward and see how far I’ve come after quite literally being in those students' shoes less than ten years ago.
How can young people who wish to become an intelligence analyst best prepare themselves for the job?
My biggest recommendation for young people is to seek out as many opportunities as possible during high school and college so you have sufficient experiences to pull from when applying to jobs in the future. Those opportunities don’t need to be remotely law enforcement or intelligence-related, as long as they provide you with the skills and experiences required of an intelligence analyst (i.e., experience performing pattern analysis and working with a team, good organizational skills, strong oral and written communication). All of those skills can be acquired from almost every job or internship, so my advice is to seek opportunities – and courses in school – that you're very interested in because passion inspires and builds a strong work ethic, which will tremendously help your career.
The synthetic opioid fentanyl – often mixed into other drugs – is now responsible for tens of thousands of American deaths per year. How has the fentanyl epidemic changed your job?
I started working for the DEA just over two years ago in July 2021, so the fentanyl epidemic has been a part of my job from the very start. Given that, I can’t speak on what effect it’s had on the DEA, but what I can say is that it has been a highlight of my career getting to see so many people work together to try to dismantle the two cartels responsible for trafficking the majority of the fentanyl entering our country.
Aug. 1 Profile: Meet Special Agent Dave
Aug. 17 Profile: From Searching Tunnels to Undercover at a Rave...