What Does a Narcotics Investigator Do?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2019
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A narcotics investigator is a criminal justice official whose main duties are related to the investigation of criminal activities connected to the sale, use and distribution of illegal drugs. The duties of a narcotics investigator are composed of several activities. One of those activities is the initiation and obtaining of intelligence related to the apprehension of suspected illegal drug dealers and users. This requires the narcotics dealer to develop and maintain contacts, interview witnesses, and also interview the victims of drug abuse, with the aim of gathering relevant information that may lead to the apprehension of criminals.

Narcotics investigators cooperate with other related law enforcement agencies by coordinating the exchange of information. This helps to increase the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. The investigator collects and stores evidence from the crime scene, which must be properly labeled and dated. He or she may send samples of evidence to the lab as well as take pictures at the crime scene, which must be representative of the crime under investigation. The collection of evidence, taking of pictures, labeling of evidence, and lab diagnostics must be done in accordance with stated rules and procedures so as to ensure their admissibility in a court.


Another function of a narcotics investigator is the prompt handling of calls from people like victims, witnesses and other citizens concerning drug-related issues. Depending on the jurisdiction, a narcotics investigator may be required to initiate and coordinate some drug-related programs so as to create awareness on the dangers of drugs as well as the laws related to drugs. Such a narcotics investigator may also be expected to commit to and attend some engagements related to public speaking and other mentorship programs aimed at young people. For example, a narcotics investigator may be invited to a school to address the students or may serve as a mentor for troubled young teens through a mentorship program developed for such a purpose.

It is the duty of the narcotics investigator to arrest drug offenders. Such an investigator may be required to obtain search warrants or arrest warrants from a judge or magistrate in relation to pending arrests or searches. The investigator may also need to obtain a warrant from a judge so as to conduct some types of covert surveillance activities, which may include wiretapping phones or placing electronic monitoring devices on a suspect. A narcotics investigator must compile written reports documenting the process of an investigation, including such details like the charges against the suspects, the facts relating to the charges, and the admissible evidence connected to the crime.


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