United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announced the unsealing of nine individuals allegedly involved in a cocaine conspiracy that shipped kilos of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York City. “As alleged, the defendants engaged in a brazen scheme to turn the U.S. Postal Service into their own drug delivery service,” said Bharara in a statement. “The defendants, which includes an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, allegedly schemed to ship multiple kilograms of cocaine through the mail, going so far as to claim, in one instance, that a lost package contained the ashes of a cremated relative, when in fact, it contained cocaine.”
According to the press release:
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. Since February 2016, law enforcement officers have seized more than 25 kilograms of cocaine from shipments associated with the defendants.
The postal worker in question is Kelving Hernandez. He tracked the packages and identified locations where they could be sent. Robert “Smiley” Rodriguez is accused of “facilitating, receiving, and distributing the shipment of cocaine through USPS parcels, and contacted the USPS multiple times for information on the status and location of certain parcels that contained cocaine.” One time when he emailed the U.S. Postmaster General directly looking for a missing parcel, he said contained the ashes of his deceased father. That package, which really contained two kilos of coke, had been seized already.
Tuesday morning, Rodriguez was arrested along with Justin Acosta, Felix “Daddy” Jimenez, Christian Garcia, Jose “Gordo” Diaz, Miguel “Ant” Torres and Britney Worthy. Hernandez and Eleelin Daz are still at large. Each was charged with one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute narcotics. These charges carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years and a maximum sentence of life in prison.