Postal Workers Convicted Of Aiding Marijuana Delivery Scheme

By Paul Gaita 03/09/18

The former postal workers intercepted packages of marijuana and gave them to traffickers in exchange for money. 

Young woman signing documents after receiving parcels from courier, closeup

A federal jury in Chicago, Illinois has convicted two U.S. Postal Service workers for their roles in a trafficking operation that shipped marijuana and other substances through the mail.

Marvin Jones and Angela Wansley, who worked at the Tinley Park Post Office in the city's south suburbs, were convicted on three charges, including accepting bribes to perform official postal duties and conspiring to commit obstruction of correspondence, for intercepting packages containing controlled substances that had been sent to the office by a co-defendant, and then giving those packages to one or more other co-defendants in exchange for cash.

The charges carry a possible combined sentence of up to 20 years.

According to a statement issued on March 6 by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Jones, 51 and Wansley, 44, collaborated with co-defendants Jayson Smith, 34, and Courtney Poindexter, 38, in the trafficking scheme for a period of five months between April and September 2016.

As the Chicago Tribune noted, Jones, who was a letter carrier and supervisor at the Tinley Park office, provided information to Smith about unoccupied PO boxes or customers on his route that had requested for their mail to be held at the post office.

Smith would then send the packages of controlled substances to those addresses or boxes while also providing Jones with the tracking information. Jones and Wansley, a sales associate at both Tinley Park and the Country Club Hills Post Office, would intercept the packages and deliver them to Poindexter or Smith's homes.

According to the Tribune, a "jilted confederate" of Smith's provided investigators from the USPS Office of Inspector General with a tip about the scheme, which led to the seizure of five packages containing illegal narcotics, including 4.15 pounds of marijuana, 10 vials of suspected hash oil and a parcel of marijuana edibles.

Both Poindexter and Smith pled guilty prior to trial to respective charges of delay of mail and conspiracy to commit theft of mail, which carry maximum prison sentences of one and five years, respectively. Both are awaiting sentencing. Jones and Wansley face up to 15 years in prison for the bribery charge and up to five years on the conspiracy and obstruction charges. U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman is expected to set sentencing hearings for the latter set of charges at a later date.

The Postal Service has come under fire in recent months for having in inadequate safeguards against international opioid manufacturers who have exploited loopholes in the US Postal System, through which they reportedly send large quantities of the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl, and others.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.