One employee, Unterria Rogers of Mobile, Alabama, was given five years for his involvement in a marijuana delivery ring along the city’s postal routes. Rogers would receive packages from California and deliver them, receiving $250 per pound he got into buyers’ hands. In all, Rogers delivered around 133 pounds before being caught.
Ultimately, it may have been his prolific delivery volume that did him in, as authorities were alerted following a spike of suspected drug packages in the city. Rogers was charged with using a firearm in his drug trafficking.
The second employee convicted last week was Fred Rivers of New Jersey. He would receive packages with false names and flag them as deliveries for a local drug dealer. He got $100 for every package he intercepted.
These two are far from the only USPS employees to deliver more than postage. In 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania indicted nine people, including two USPS workers, Steven C. Williams and Felicia Charleston, for their involvement in a marijuana-trafficking organization. They faced life in prison and multimillion-dollar fines for helping divert packages to distribute almost 100 kilograms of marijuana. In 2018, Williams and Charleston were sentenced to 15 months and 10 months in prison, respectively.
Delivery systems like the USPS and FedEx are easy to exploit for drug delivery, even without employees getting involved. These parcel delivery services remain among the easiest ways to ship fentanyl, opioids, and other drugs into the United States. This was made especially apparent during a federal court case involving 43 members of a methamphetamine distribution ring that had ties to the Sinaloa Cartel.
“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.”
The major issue is that drug rings have people on the inside.
“Don’t think that these cartels don’t have their own ‘intelligence services,'” warned Perez. “Friends, family members working on the inside. So they’re going to know how many agents or officers are assigned to which FedEx facility, when they’re working, and when they’re not.”