The United States Postal Service has upped their game in stopping illegal shipments of drugs into our neighborhoods.
A Lehigh Acres couple was recently arrested for receiving a package of over 4,000 Xanax bars through the mail. The arrests were the result of a sting operation set up by investigators from USPS along with members from the Highway/Parcel Interdiction Unit, Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
We don’t how yet how the couple sent the drugs, but it’s possible the drugs were ordered online. We reached out to the U.S. Postal Service for comment, but it said they couldn’t comment publicly on investigative procedures. They did add, however, that new and improved techniques have increased their ability to prevent opioids like fentanyl entering the mail system. These kinds of arrests are much more common than you might think. People try to get drugs through the mail all the time.
A quick google search pulls up instructional websites that teach people the best ways to mail drugs without getting caught. And these kinds of sites are protected by the first amendment because they are considered free speech. Some tips the site gives include using first-class mail, which according to USPS is protected from search and seizure under the 4th amendment, sending packages with food or baby items to make it seem harmless, and using airtight seals to hide the smell.
Regardless of their techniques, USPS officials say that last year the Postal Inspection Service achieved a 375 percent increase in international parcel seizures and an 880 percent increase in domestic parcel seizures related to opioids.
In 2016 USPS seized 37,000 lbs. of illegal narcotics. That’s 23.5 million worth of drugs and assets, and that’s not counting the illegal drugs that slipped through the cracks.
But USPS officials said the U.S. Postal Service is working aggressively with law enforcement and key trading partners to stem the flow of illegal drugs entering the United States and continues to aggressively target the shipment of illegal drugs within the United States.
This incident ended in an arrest, but USPS has no way to check every single package that is sent through the mail and there’s no telling how much slips through.
The couple is expected in court in late April.
*Correction: The classification of Xanax is a Benzodiazepine not an opioid as previously stated. 3/30/2018