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USPS OIG and Federal Partners Keep a Killer Off the Streets

October 25, 2023 ,

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Office of Inspector General OIG

Illegal fentanyl is a modern-day killer. The tip of a pencil can hold a lethal dose of the synthetic opioid — that’s how dangerous it is. Imagine the death toll 200,000 pills of fentanyl could cause.

That’s how many fentanyl pills our special agents and their DEA, HSI, and USPIS counterparts found in the mailstream heading to a New Jersey post office. The pills were divided among three Priority Mail parcels, all destined for a city carrier’s route. The carrier delivered the parcels, except he had no idea our special agents were already on to him.

While OIG investigators were following the trail in New Jersey, the other agencies tracked down the parcels’ mailer to California, identifying a man whose drug dealing business was thriving in the dark web. The discovery eventually led them to a warehouse where the pills were likely being manufactured.

Back in New Jersey, our special agents’ investigative efforts resulted in the discovery of two postal employees who were assisting the trafficking of narcotics through the mail. They found that, besides fentanyl, kilograms of cocaine were also being trafficked and sold. However, those parcels couldn’t be traced back to the man in California. What they did find was the cocaine parcels were sent by another man in California who went by a codename. Once agents zeroed in on that suspect, a third external actor emerged: his brother.

The five suspects were arrested and charged with multiple federal felony offenses, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Following the execution of search warrants on multiple locations in California, the evidence revealed a much larger operation distributing millions of illegal fentanyl pills throughout the country, shipping approximately 400,000 per month for millions of dollars in profit in crypto currency.

The Items seized during the searches provide a glimpse of the scheme’s broad reach and profitability: $4.7 million in crypto currency, almost $220,000 in cash, a Rolls Royce, a Mercedes Benz, a 5.5 carat diamond ring and other luxury jewelry. Agents also seized nearly 25 kilograms of fentanyl, five pounds of marijuana, two pill presses, and three guns, including an AK-47 with a silencer. Additionally, a bank account with a balance of approximately $500,000 was frozen by law enforcement.

The two mail carriers were removed from the Postal Service and convicted. The first carrier was sentenced to two years in prison and the second to nearly three years; they each received a term of supervised release after confinement of three and five years respectively. The other three co-conspirators were sentenced to a combined total of 41 years in prison and 13 years’ supervised release. The three men were also required to forfeit all proceeds of their conspiracy.

Our expertly trained agents play a vital role in keeping America safe by keeping illegal substances out of the mailstream and off the streets. The potency of their collaboration with organizations such as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDEFT) — which in this case included the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Postal Inspection Service — is a testament to this important and necessary work.

If you suspect or know of narcotics trafficking involving Postal Service employees or contractors, please report it to our Hotline.

For further reading:

Department of Justice (via uspsoig.gov), California Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Large-Scale Fentanyl Analogue Pill Mill Operation

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