Last week, two United States Postal Service employees were convicted after staging separate schemes to deliver drugs on their routes – in two separate states.
Drug Delivery Scheme
33-year-old Unterria Rogers from Mobile, Alabama was sentenced to five years for running an illegal marijuana delivery system. Rogers reportedly received his supply from California and delivered packages along the way. Allegedly he made over $250 per pound he moved. In total, Rogers delivered 133 pounds before being arrested.
The second mail carrier in New Jersey was USPS employee Fred Rivers. Rivers was arrested on conspiracy charges after he reportedly intercepted drug-filled packaged being delivered to fake names, selling them to a local drug dealer.
While recreational marijuana is becoming more widespread in certain states, it’s still seen as a problem for a multitude of others.
The war on cannabis has destroyed families, filled prisons with nonviolent offenders, and disproportionately disrupted black and brown communities,” Pritzker said, per AP. “Law enforcement across the nation has spent billions of dollars to enforce the criminalization of cannabis, yet its consumption remains widespread.”
Exploiting Drug Delivery
While the number of people locked up for marijuana-related offenses continue to grow, delivery companies have continued to make the process easy to exploit for drug delivery, even without employees involved. These services can be among the easiest ways to ship illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl into the United States.
“The vast majority of illegal fentanyl is purchased online from labs in China and then shipped to the United States through the mail,” Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, said at a 2018 congressional hearing. He described posing as a buyer and asking the sellers how the drugs would be delivered. They told him they often used private express carriers like FedEx, DHL, or UPS, but especially liked the Postal Service “because the chances of the drugs getting seized were so insignificant that delivery was essentially guaranteed.”
This route became apparent in May when indictments against 43 members of an alleged San Diego-based methamphetamine and GHB ring tied to the Sinaloa cartel appeared in Federal Court, leading to the arrest of 32 defendants, and seizures of guns and money.
Federal prosecutors allege the drug ring moved “large quantities of methamphetamine from San Diego to various locations in the United States and internationally, through FedEx and the United States Postal Service on a weekly basis.”
When it comes to border patrol presence, US Postal Service and commercial package facilities are grossly understaffed to handle such an undertaking than regular ports of entry.
“The sheer logistical nature of trying to pick out which packages contain opioids makes it much more challenging,” said Robert E. Perez, an acting executive assistant commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “It’s unlike anything we’ve encountered.