For at least eight months in 2013 and 2014, letter carrier Devona Charley of Washington, D.C., delivered more than just letters and junk mail. The twenty-seven year old now-former U.S. Postal Service employee was sentenced to a year and a day in prison plus 6 months of home detention, part of three years of a supervised release plan imposed by a plea agreement on drug and bribery conspiracy charges.
From September 2013 to April 2014, Charley and conspirator Dominique Jones of Oxon Hill, Maryland, schemed to have marijuana delivered to Jones in packages addressed to other people. All told, Charley is believed to have delivered between 40 and 60 kilograms of marijuana, valued from $70,000 to $120,000. The justice department describes the conspiracy this way:
Specifically, Charley provided Jones with addresses for the shipment of packages along her postal route. Charley agreed to deliver the packages to Jones even though they were addressed to another person. Her co-conspirators agreed to pay Charley $350 per package. Based on the information provided by Charley, packages containing marijuana were shipped to the addresses provided by Charley. When the packages arrived at the post office, Charley picked up the packages and texted Jones. Jones and an associate then met Charley along her mail route and Charley delivered the packages.
Jones was already sentenced to 54 months after a guilty plea in the case. There is no mention of charges regarding the "associate."
According to U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, the Charley case is not the only one the justice department has uncovered. Rosenstein explains the department, along with other law enforcement agencies, is "investigating several cases involving letter carriers who took bribes to divert shipments of illegal drugs." He also expressed concern that the "corruption of postal employees is a significant vulnerability in the system." Earlier this year, several Maryland USPS employees were sentenced in a contracts-related bribery scheme involving over half a million dollars.