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USPS OIG – It Doesn’t Pay to Throw Your Career Away

June 27, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Office of Inspector General OIG

Postal Service careers can be very rewarding, but it takes newcomers — almost a quarter of its current workforce — time to advance to positions that can lock in the next level of benefits. That’s part of the reason “career employees” — the other three quarters of the workforce — see a lot less turnover compared to their counterparts. But there’s a sure way any employee can throw away a hard-earned career with USPS: by breaking the law.

Our Office of Investigations opened an investigation in March 2022 after our in-house analytics detected suspected drug shipments making their way from California to South Carolina. Quick on the scene, our special agents saw a mail carrier deliver three suspicious parcels along his route and then counting cash in his postal vehicle after the last delivery.

Two months later, the carrier moved to a different post office and his illegal activities also became more frequent — until they didn’t. For about two months, the employee went about his typical mail route without any suspicious parcels. However, our special agents and their law enforcement partners kept eyes on a suspected drug dealer with whom the employee had been meeting.

After a little patience, our agents conducted a sting operation and apprehended both the employee and the dealer at a frequented rendezvous point. When asked to step out of the car, a powerful odor of marijuana exited along with the men, and agents found four drug parcels that contained 15 lbs. of marijuana in the vehicle. The men were then read their rights and arrested on state narcotics charges. The dealer was already known to law enforcement — he had a criminal history with several narcotics charges; the employee, however, had none.

During an interview with our agents, the employee said he had been approached by the dealer a year earlier, who promised him quick, easy cash and personal use amounts of marijuana. What ensued was the delivery of about 100 drug-containing parcels, for which the employee received payment. When weighing out the costs and benefits from the raw deal during the conversation, the employee admitted it truly didn’t pay, especially since he had recently become a career employee. Shortly after, he resigned from the Postal Service.

After being indicted on federal charges, both men first pleaded not guilty, but then entered guilty pleas in June 2023. This March, the dealer was sentenced to almost four years in prison with two years’ supervised release. The now former employee was sentenced to two years’ probation.

Even with some states legalizing the use and possession of marijuana, moving it via the U.S. Mail is a federal crime. If you suspect or know of narcotics trafficking involving Postal Service employees or contractors, please report it to our Hotline.

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