It is common, nowadays, for people with access to high-quality, loud buds on the West Coast to people in other places in the nation. The weed is packaged discreetly, so that the packages do not appear or smell suspicious when being inspected. Recently, two Buffalo, NY, mail carriers for the U.S. Postal service (federal employees) used their positions help weed dealers receive West Coast trees through the mail. Those two have now been arrested.
Dennis Bernhard, 56, and Briana Fugate, 25, are both facing a maximum of 15 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on bribery charges for their role in the cannabis smuggling operations they were so integral to (they were not in cahoots). WGRZ NBC 2 gives the run down of the scheme:
Officials say in a press release Bernhard and Fugate “provided addresses of unsuspecting citizens in the City of Buffalo to a person posing as a drug dealer in order to be mailed boxes of narcotics from the West Coast. These addresses were within each carrier’s mail delivery route, so that when the boxes arrived in Buffalo, the carrier did not deliver the boxes to the listed recipient address, but held on to the boxes and handed them directly to the witness in exchange for payments of between $200 and $300 per box.”
According to Syracuse.com, the postal weed couriers were set up by a confidential informant:
The person posing as a drug dealer was working as a confidential source for federal agents, according to federal prosecutors.
The transactions between the confidential source and the defendants were secretly audio- and video-recorded, court papers said.
In one transaction, the confidential source mentioned the names of two known drug dealers to Bernhard, according to an federal agent’s affidavit. The source asked Bernhard how much the dealers used to pay him, the affidavit said.
“Your brother treated me pretty good,” Bernhard responded, according to the affidavit. “At the end he was giving me like a hundred.”
In addition to the bribery charges, Fugate is facing counts of cannabis trafficking and mail tampering. According to reports, she would examine packages that she suspected contained weed and steal some of it to sell. She reportedly sold a vacuum-sealed pound of cheeba at one point.