The Life of a Drug Task Force Agent - Uncovered

MankatoNPWAwardTo say it’s a dangerous job might be an understatement. Undercover drug task force agents come face–to-face with criminals dressed just like me or you. That means no radio, no bulletproof vest, no taser and no handcuffs – some of the critical tools you might associate with a law enforcement officer.  Instead, all they have is a well-hidden gun (so not to give away their disguise) and a wire.

“It’s our lifeline,” said Ginger Peterson, supervising agent with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force. “We never make a buy without at least three officers standing by ready to jump in if something happens.”

Peterson has worked as an undercover narcotics officer for the past 15 years. She started with a drug task force in Cincinnati, Ohio before joining the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional unit that serves about 170,000 people in southwest Minnesota. On May 21, 2013, she accepted an award on behalf of the drug task force from the Justice Studies Club on the Rasmussen College Mankato Campus. The award recognizes officers who go above and beyond the call of duty to keep their communities safe.

“Having just celebrated National Police Week, it only seemed fitting to honor the commitment of those who put their lives on the line daily,” said Bob Sutter (seen pictured above), School of Justice Studies Program Coordinator at Rasmussen College. “We wanted to recognize the drug task force for its outstanding efforts.”

After the award presentation, Peterson talked about life as an undercover narcotics officer and took questions from students about what she sees out in the community. Over the past year, the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force seized 12 pounds of marijuana, several pounds of cocaine and 18 pounds of methamphetamine. Her biggest bust ever took place last year when the drug task force seized nine pounds of methamphetamine – almost all of it was 98 percent pure meth.

“Meth labs are going right back up,” said Peterson. “We saw a drop back in 2005 after the pseudoephedrine legislation was passed, but now we’re seeing a new method of cooking meth. It’s much faster and selling for a lot more money.”

Peterson says pharmaceuticals also continue to be a hot drug right now, especially among our youth.GingerPeterson

“What many kids don’t realize is it’s a felony to sell pharmaceuticals like Oxycodone or Adderall,” said Peterson. “Pharmaceuticals are also highly addictive. Once kids are hooked, dealers bring in heroin which is more potent but less money. The Twin Cities is seeing this right now, and I believe it’s the next thing to come down here.”

The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force works closely with local schools. Peterson says she often talks to teachers about what they should be on the lookout for. Agents are also present during school locker searches in case drugs are found.

One Rasmussen College student wanted to know if Peterson had ever come across someone she bought drugs from while out in the community. Peterson had to laugh because she says she’s actually arrested the same guy three times.

“The second time I changed my hair color, so he didn’t recognize me,” said Peterson. “The third time was kind of a joke. My fellow agents wanted to see if I could actually get him to sell drugs to me for a third time so I wore a baseball cap and glasses, and sure enough he sold me the drugs.”

Although that drug bust provided a good laugh, the potential dangers Peterson faces is no laughing matter. As Peterson put it, law enforcement is “no place for a cowboy.”

“You shouldn’t be in law enforcement if you don’t sense fear,” said Peterson. “I’ve approached meth labs where cooking is taking place or a line of coke is sitting right in front of me next to a gun. You have to be prepared for anything.”

After more than a decade undercover, Peterson is moving on from the narcotics world next month. She’ll soon be the new welfare fraud investigator for Blue Earth County. Peterson says she’ll miss working for the drug task force but is ready to spend more time with her family.

For more on the time commitment and dedication it takes to be a part of a specialized drug task force, as well as what qualities you need to be an undercover officer, watch the video below. 

External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Molly Andersen is the Senior Public Relations Manager at Collegis Education. She is a passionate storyteller and believes in the power of education. She is responsible for creating content that educates, engages and inspires current, past and future students at Rasmussen College. Connect with Molly through social media.

Receive Personalized Information Today

  • Personalized financial aid
  • Customized support services
  • Detailed program plan
  • Attend a no-obiligation Nursing Information Session
  • Meet the Dean of Nursing
  • Enrollment application
  • Personalized financial aid
  • Career path guidance

How may we contact you?

Please complete all fields

What would you like to study?

The program you have selected is not available in your area. Please select another program of interest.

By requesting information, I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided.

Share Your Story Ideas
Our campuses and online community have stories to tell and we want to hear them! Did your campus raise the most money in the community for an organization? Do you have online study tips for other students? Would you like to share a personal success story about overcoming an obstacle while earning your degree?
To have your story idea considered:
  • You must be a faculty member, current student or graduate
  • Story ideas must be regarding Rasmussen College or an inspiring story about a student at Rasmussen College
  • Your submission must be original and may not have been published elsewhere online already
Please Note: Your story idea may be featured on the Rasmussen College News Beat or on one of our social networks. A member of our news team will contact you should we move forward with a blog post.
Feel free to suggest an idea for a blog post to be featured on the Rasmussen College News Beat by filling out the form below:

First Name: (required)

Last Name: (required)

Email Address: (required)

Phone Number: (required)

500 characters or less


Your Story Idea Has Been Submitted

Thank you for sending us a story idea! We’re reviewing submissions and may contact you soon to learn more about your story. In the meantime, make sure to check out our current blogs to see what’s happening on campus.