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How the FBI Cracks down on Drugs and Gangs in Utah

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 UTAH) The FBI is a federal agency, but special agents here in Utah – focus on Utah. And they say by working with local law enforcement – people who live in the Beehive State and other parts of the country benefit. And one of those FBI agents working hard to protect Utah is FBI Special Agent John Barrett. 

“Drugs eat communities. They eat families. They eat people. And drug dealers support that.”  For more than twenty years John Barrett has been involved in the war on drugs. He doesn’t remember all his cases he has handled, but he remembers some of them. And that includes a case where drug dealer thought he would get away with his crimes. “He said the cops were stupid and they would never get him.” Barrett says he took that as a challenge. And he adds, “That person is still in federal prison.”  

Barrett says he loves investigating and busting the bad guys here – because for twenty years Utah has been his home. “I may be a Fed, but I live here too.” He served in Ogden for most of his FBI career. He was on the SWAT team. He was also a supervisor in Provo. And now he’s the Special Agent over Transnational Organized Crime and Violent Gangs. He says that basically means he oversees the crack down on drug dealing and gangs in Northern Utah. “I like it because it serves the community and helps people.” 

Barrett decided on a career with the FBI after serving in the military. He was a Ranger in the Army in the late 80’s. Then served in the Ohio and Texas National Guard where he worked on the counter drug programs. “I got to work with several federal agencies. The DEA, the FBI the ATF. I saw the task force environments that they working in.” He had never thought about working with the FBI, but the experience with agents – changed his plans. “Just saw what they did and I thought it was a cool job. I worked there for four years – finished by college degree – night school and applied to the bureau.”

The young FBI agent was assigned to Ogden, Utah. Where he quickly learned – making a difference meant making friends with local law enforcement. “I can’t work cases alone. I don’t have enough people. I don’t have enough time. So, we really try to be a part of the organizations in the valley.”  He also learned how much work really goes into catching and convicting criminals. “Regardless of what you see in the movies – title three cases and wire tap cases are not easy. They are drain on you personally and professionally. They are extremely difficult.” 

Special Agent Barrett is about to embark on another assignment for the FBI. He is headed to Niger to work as a legal attache. To check out our Behind the Badge profiles and to nominate someone for a future story  go to:

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