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Nine Drug Traffickers Charged After Mailing Cocaine From Puerto Rico To Manhattan

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Nine people were charged with drug trafficking and other crimes after a complex cocaine ring was busted earlier this week in New York.

One of the defendants was a U.S. Postal Service employee who used the federal agency’s expansive distribution system as a drug delivery service. The fairly elaborate narcotic peddling scheme was foiled due to an overcommitment to retain lost goods.

When one of the parcels of the cocaine did not arrive in a timely matter, one of the defendants filed a complaint to the U.S. Postmaster General asserting that the missing package contained ashes of his father. But the encased two kilograms of cocaine was already seized by law enforcement and this led the authorities to probe further. (RELATED: New O’Keefe Sting Catches Teacher Peddling Cocaine At Teacher Convention)

After investigating the incident, authorities found that narcotics were being shipped from Puerto Rico to New York and that the illegal activity occurred between May 2015 and July 2016.

According to the indictment, the offenders had a fairly intricate system:

The defendants operated the drug-trafficking scheme by arranging for the shipment of cocaine from Puerto Rico to various locations in New York City through the USPS, retrieving cocaine from various delivery locations, transporting cocaine to residences and a storage facility, and repackaging and selling the cocaine to individual customers.

The indictment also includes details into the sphere of responsibility among the nine defendants. Two were the supervisors of the trafficking, four were part of receiving and distribution of the packages from USPS, two others had territorial operations in the Bronx and one was the aforementioned USPS employee who was in charge of tracking and facilitating the illicit shipments for eventual pick-up.

“This investigation underscores the extent drug traffickers will go to in order to smuggle illegal drugs into the United States,” DEA Special Agent James J. Hunt was quoted as saying in the press release.

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the indictment in a news release.

A total of 25 kilograms, or 55 pounds, of cocaine were ultimately seized. Two of the nine suspects are still at large.

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