Inspection Service Home Page NEWS RELEASE
UNITED STATES POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
National Public Information Officer


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2009

Contact: Postal Inspector Peter R. Rendina
202-268-3700
ISMediainquiries@uspis.gov

Postal Inspectors Cause 'Dis-Comfort' in Southern Texas

The U.S. Postal Service is in the business of moving the mail and will not tolerate the use of the mails to transport illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. Chief Postal Inspector William R. Gilligan, Jr. says: “The primary objective of the Postal Inspection Service’s drug investigations is to rid the mail of illicit drug trafficking, preserve the integrity of the mail, and—most important—provide a safe environment for postal employees and the American public.”

Postal Inspectors aggressively investigate incidents of mail containing drugs. In FY 2008, they arrested 1,118 suspects and seized $4.78 million in assets related to investigations of drugs found in the mail.

Over the past five years, Postal Inspectors have seen a growing number of drug traffickers moving their illegal contraband via Post Offices in southern Texas, particularly in the Rio Grand Valley, and destined to locations on the Eastern seaboard, including Puerto Rico. While in 2005 the average weight of marijuana seized totaled about 2,000 pounds, that number has since more than tripled. To address the problem, Postal Inspectors in the Houston Division have been working with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Hidalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force on an initiative dubbed Operation Southern Dis-Comfort.

The operation has had considerable success. From October 2008 through May 2009, Postal Inspectors seized 1,309 packages mailed from the Rio Grand Valley. The packages contained 10,969 pounds of marijuana, 8 pounds of cocaine and Postal Inspectors have made over 85 related arrests nationwide.

Most recently, Postal Inspectors arrested five men in Mission, TX, who now face potential prison terms of five to 40 years, plus $2 million in fines, for allegedly mailing 234 packages containing more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana in just one year. In McAllen, TX, Postal Inspectors arrested three suspects on charges of mailing 218 packages containing more than 324 pounds of marijuana. During a round up in the Rio Grand Valley, Postal Inspectors conducted searches resulting in the seizure of more than 300 pounds of marijuana being prepared for mailing and drug trafficking paraphernalia, along with six vehicles and approximately $15,000 in cash from drug proceeds.

Postal Inspection Service investigations often originate with a tip. If you have information about illegal drugs in the U.S. Mail, call the Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.

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About the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the country. For more than 200 years, Postal Inspectors have protected the U.S. Postal Service, secured the nation’s mail system, and ensured public trust in the mail. To learn more, visit http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.


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