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U.S. Postal Service Workers Aided Drug Trafficker

A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) worker in Georgia accepted bribes from a drug trafficker and hand-delivered cocaine and marijuana along his mail route, on taxpayer time.

When that man, Robert Sheppard, 61, later had to take disability leave from the U.S. Postal Service he recruited his co-workers to take over for him.

This is according to a statement that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia for the Department of Justice (DOJ) published late last week.

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“In 2015, in exchange for receiving bribes, Sheppard used his position to deliver five-pound packages of drugs through the U.S. mail to Dexter Frazier, a local drug trafficker who sold cocaine and marijuana. In 2016, Frazier approached Sheppard about delivering additional drug packages. Sheppard was on disability leave from the U.S. Postal Service at that time and unable to intercept and deliver packages,” according to the DOJ.

“But he offered to recruit other mail carriers to deliver drugs for Frazier in exchange for referral fees in the form of a mix of cash and marijuana. Frazier agreed to the arrangement. Sheppard then contacted two coworkers, Tonie Harris and Clifton Lee. Sheppard explained to Harris and Lee that they could earn bribes for delivering packages of drugs along their mail routes and taught them how to arrange the deliveries to avoid detection.”

Harris and Lee agreed to participate, and each delivered three packages for Frazier, believing they contained two kilograms of cocaine or 10 pounds of marijuana, per parcel.

The DOJ statement says nothing about how the three postal workers got caught. U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones late last month sentenced Sheppard to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Jones previously sentenced Frazier to nine years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release. The judge also sentenced Lee to 10 months in prison and Harris to three years and one month of prison time.

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Congress designed the U.S. Postal Service to operate as a self-sustaining entity that, like a business, would cover its operating costs primarily with revenues from selling certain products and services. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, however, the USPS’s expenses began exceeding its revenue.

As the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2021, this has led to total net losses of $87 billion from FY 2007 through 2020, and $188 billion in total unfunded liabilities and debt.

The GAO recommends that Congress consider “fundamentally reexamining key aspects of postal service in the United States.”

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