Who We Are and What We Do: Special Agents

Take a peek into the inner workings of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the Museum’s 2019 lecture series “Who We Are and What We Do.” Elizabeth L. Maurer, Curator of Education for the DEA Museum, moderates a panel discussion with three DEA special agents: Steve Fraga, Michelle Y. Spahn, and Amador Martinez.

Special agents are on the front line for drug law enforcement in America and around the world. DEA’s goal is to eliminate illegal drug distribution, prosecute traffickers, and destroy the financial infrastructure of these organizations. As the federal government’s premier drug law enforcement agency, our mission has never been so important. Agents are prepared for innumerable tasks including facilitating informant contacts, making drug arrests, community outreach, and international diplomacy.

Special Agents must maintain many skills to perform in less than ideal and often high-pressure situations. While in the field, agents may investigate and help prosecute major violators of controlled substance laws and partner with federal, state, local, and foreign officials in managing drug intelligence programs. Agents are often identified as the people who arrest and search subjects and seize assets connected to illicit drug trafficking, but they are also responsible for collecting and preparing evidence and performing other judicial functions. DEA special agents have a long-standing history in combating the critical problems of drug trafficking.