The nation’s postal system and private mail services are regularly the unwitting couriers of illegal drugs delivered coast to coast and door to door, says the Houston Chronicle. At least 15 times in the past 60 days, agents in Houston seized cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and other drugs from mailed packages, coming from as far away as Pakistan and Iraq.
The amounts are small compared with the shipments that come into the U.S. via trucks and other means, but authorities say there is no denying that the mail system provides a sometimes-clever route around borders. Traffickers consider slipping drugs and cash from their sales into the mail as more efficient than using their own couriers, said attorney Philip Hilder, formerly in charge of the Houston office for the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Strike Force. This week in the Rio Grande Valley, three men were sentenced for roles in a conspiracy to mail marijuana. Drugs were wrapped in cellophane and dried chili peppers to hide their smell, then sent to U.S. cities in the South and Midwest. A postal inspector in Houston noted in a recent request for a warrant that the mail service is “frequently” used to move controlled substances throughout the United States.