Tracking Down the Most Wanted Criminals: Lessons For Us


“Show me a man’s friends and I’ll show you the man.”

Well, what if I show you his enemies? It probably says just as much about him – maybe even more. Consider the FBI. Take a look at its nemeses – those on the 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list – and I bet you’ll get a better understanding of what it’s like to work for the FBI.

Why Get Into the Work?

Semion Mogilevich is on the Most Wanted List for money laundering, falsifying documents, and a bunch of other money-related crimes. I don’t know him, but I think it’s safe to say that he’s in it for the money.

FBI Agents probably can’t relate. Instead of money, they’re in it because :
It is challenging.
It is exciting.
It is rewarding.
And every day you have a chance to serve your country.

How Much Do They Make?

Joe Luis Saenz has been on the FBI’s Most Wanted List since 2009 for some gang-related crimes, parole violations, and a number of violent acts. Although it’s hard to know exactly how much money he earns, one of his crimes involved hurting someone who owed him $620,000. (Saenz never got the money because police confiscated it.)

FBI Agents earn a little less – about $61,000 a year right out of training – but they don’t have to worry about any other law enforcement agents taking it. As FBI Agents move up in the ranks, they also become eligible for salary increases. Additionally, FBI Agents have access to a variety of benefits, including:

  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Paid vacation
  • Paid sick days
  • Full retirement plan

Where Can They Work?

Robert William Fisher is on the Most Wanted List for violent crimes against his family. The FBI describes him as an outdoorsman who loves to hunt and fish. More likely than not, he can’t capitalize on any of those skills since he’s busy trying to evade the FBI.

Graduates of the FBI’s training academy can be assigned to work anywhere in the world. There are currently 56 field offices that oversee all of the FBI investigations taking place; there’s bound to be a field office near you.

What’s the Job Availability Like?

Glen Stewart Godwin is on the 10 Most Wanted list because of some violent crimes, probably related to his career in drug trafficking. Assuming illegal drugs don’t disappear, Godwin probably has job security. Unfortunately, being on the FBI’s list of fugitives means that he can’t stay in one place too long and any real sense of “job security” is out the door.

FBI Agents, on the other hand, are usually able to retire from their positions in law enforcement. Plus, the FBI has been around since 1908 and there aren’t any plans to get rid of it.

What Does It Take to Get the Job?

James J. Bulger was on the 10 Most Wanted list until his recent arrest. But, his time as a wanted fugitive shows that it takes a lifetime of heinous crimes to make the list.

FBI Agents, on the other hand, must meet specific requirements before joining the agency.

  • U.S. citizen
  • Between 23 and 36 years old
  • No felony convictions
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Graduate of an accredited college or university
  • 3+ years of professional work experience
  • Pass a drug test
  • Never defaulted on a student loan
  • Knowledge of one of the 5 entry areas
  • Good Health
  • Interest in working anywhere in the world

FBI Agents must then successfully graduate from the FBI’s 5-month training academy. Here’s a look inside the training:

What’s So Good About the Job?

What’s so good about being on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List? I really have no idea, although I suppose there’s a bit of fame that comes with it.

Of course, there are many good things about being an FBI Agent. I mean, just imagine how proud an FBI Agent must feel to know he/she is helping to protect our nation from criminals, cyber attacks, and terrorism.

What’s Not So Good About the Job?

Osama Bin Laden was on the 10 Most Wanted list and well, pretty much everyone in the world wanted him dead.

FBI Agents have some difficulties to deal with, but nothing that compares with the fate of the fugitives on their 10 Most Wanted list. According to The Princeton Review :

The most difficult part of being an FBI agent is the sense of isolation it can foster. Most agents work by themselves or, if necessary, in pairs. They often travel for long periods. The project-based nature of this career may keep it exciting, but the uncertainty of it can lead to frustration. Wrote one agent from New York, “My wife and I were married on May 25 of last year. I was assigned to a case two days later and couldn’t tell her where I was or when I would be back or what was going on. I next saw her July 14.” Even with all the pressures the work entails and the lifestyle limitations it demands, only 4 percent of agents leave each year (not including retirees). There must be something really great about being an FBI agent, but of course it’s a secret.

Who Would Be a Good FBI Agent?

Eduardo Ravelo, like most others on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list has a long history of criminal acts. He’s in a gang, involved in racketeering, launders money, and sells drugs. In addition to his dedication to a criminal life, Ravelo is apparently willing to pursue different ventures.

Being an FBI Agent requires similar commitment, but commitment towards protecting our country. As this video shows, people with different personalities and backgrounds can find success in the FBI.

What Else Can You Do With Criminal Justice Credentials?

Jason Derek Brown is a unique character for the 10 Most Wanted list. He’s fluent in French and has a Master’s Degree in International Business. He likes golfing, snowboarding, and skiing. And, in a different world, those kinds of credentials might get him somewhere. But, being on the 10 Most Wanted List pretty much closes off any kind of opportunities outside the criminal world.

FBI Agents have the total opposite experience. As FBI Director Robert Mueller said, “If you go anywhere in the world and tell someone that you are an FBI Special agent, you will immediately have their respect.”

The FBI’s Values

Taking a look at the FBI’s list of 10 Most Wanted Fugitives tells quite a bit about what the agency values:

  • A nation safe from terrorists
  • A nation safe from violent criminals
  • A nation with no need for illegal drugs
  • A nation free from economic and political corruption
  • A nation that is safe for all

If these are values you believe in too, then consider starting on your path towards law enforcement; earning a degree in criminal justice just might be the right first step for you.

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