16 postal carriers busted in cocaine sting

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This is real cocaine seized by the Gwinnett County Police Department in 1998. (AJC Staff Photo/Louie Favorite)

At least 16 mailmen wanted Atlanta to be the home of more than just one kind of coke.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice say postal carriers here accepted bribes to deliver “kilogram-quantities of cocaine” to locations across the metro area.

Only the cocaine wasn’t the real thing.

The arrests came after a sting operation where the mailmen (and mailwomen) “provided special addresses that the drug trafficker could use to ship packages of cocaine. The defendants then intercepted the packages and delivered them to the drug trafficker. Unbeknownst to them, the drug trafficker was actually working with law enforcement and the packages they delivered contained fake drugs,” the press release says.

I can’t say I’m shocked. The quality of mail service at my house is often criminal.

Not long ago, a mailperson tasked with delivering a book decided the hill leading to my front porch looked like the path up Stone Mountain. Thus, she spent several minutes jamming a 12-inch wide book into an 8-inch wide mailbox. The herculean effort resulted in a bent book and lopsided mailbox.

It wasn’t always this way. Used to be the mailman was someone we could trust. Now they accept real cash to deliver fake drugs for a fake drug dealer.

“The allegations contained in these federal indictments are disturbing to say the least,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.  “The blatant abdication of the public trust through the criminal conduct of these sixteen U.S. Postal Service employees absolutely stains the established trust of their peers and those that went before them at the U.S. Postal Service.”

The press release skimps on details like exact criminal charges, bribe amounts and if the post office is now hiring.

I asked for more information but I doubt they’ll respond to the last one.

I was almost a mailman. In the 1980s, a friend who had ROTC duty asked me to drive his dad and two friends out of town to take the postal service exam.

I took the test too, and scored higher than my passengers, but they got nigh-immediate job offers due to extra points awarded veterans.

About 18 months after I took the test, I got a job offer too. By then, however, I was already writing award-winning journalism like this and the good people of Homerville were forever denied mail delivery greatness.

We often envision low-level drug dealers as people barely making ends meet who turn to a life of crime to have food, a place to sleep and a really expensive car.

Mailmen are not poor, the mean annual wage is $50,000, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not bad for a job that requires only a high school diploma.

What would it take to bribe a mailman to deliver cocaine?

Not sure, the FBI wouldn’t tell me. But, with autonomous cars and delivery drones on the way the price is going to get cheaper.

Here’s a list of the USPS employees charged with accepting bribes:

  • Cydra Rochelle Alexander, 31, of Riverdale, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Ralph McGill Carrier Annex and Central City Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Aurthamis O. Burch, aka Tank, 46, of Snellville, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Doraville Post Office.
  • Kawana Rashun Champion, 35, of Jonesboro, Georgia, a clerk assigned to the North Springs Branch of the Sandy Springs Post Office and Central City Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Eleanor Lolita Golden, aka Eleanor Johnson, 54, of East Point, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the West End Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Tonie Harris, 54, of Decatur, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Sandy Springs Post Office.
  • Leea Janel Holt, 38, of Atlanta, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Old National Branch of the Riverdale Post Office.
  • Clifton Curtis Lee, aka Cliff, 41, of Lithonia, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Sandy Springs Post Office.
  • Shakeed Anilah Magee, 40, of College Park, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the West End Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Horace Manson, 40, of Roswell, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the West End Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Olivia Marita Moore, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Old National Branch of the Riverdale Post Office.
  • Eddie Nash, 63, of Decatur, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the West End Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Jeffrey A. Pearson, 59, of Austell, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Decatur Post Office.
  • Rodney Antwain Salter, 33, of Jonesboro, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Martech Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Frank Webb, 40, of Lithonia, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Central City Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Katrina Nicole Wilson, aka Trina, 38, of Fairburn, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the West End Branch of the Atlanta Post Office.
  • Harvel Donta Young, aka Dante, 39, of Atlanta, Georgia, a letter carrier assigned to the Westside Annex Branch of the Marietta Post Office.

Dexter Bernard Frazier, aka Dec, 56, of Fairburn, Georgia, was also charged based on his role in introducing several of the defendants to the drug trafficker and coordinating logistics of the scheme in exchange for payments, the press release said.

 


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