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Sunday, April 23, 2017

USPS Employee Helped Dealers Ship Cocaine

In July 2016, seven men pleaded guilty violating federal narcotics and money laundering laws. Another man pleaded guilty shortly afterwards as part of the same indictment. That indictment accused former United States postmaster Joseph Borrelli of the same crimes. On April 7, 2017, United States District Judge Arthur Schwab sentenced the ex-USPS employee to four years imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

The 49-year-old former postmaster aided the other seven men in an intercontinental cocaine trafficking ring that used USPS as a carrier. Like many drug traffickers, dealers, or darknet vendors—whatever name one carries in relation to shipping narcotics or other illegal drugs—this ring used various tactics to conceal packages. Buyers often scrutinize darknet vendors for their stealth. And those with the best or unique stealth methods often utilize a tactic or trick when shipping orders. The less a package stands out, the better.

Stealth goes beyond looking good on the outside of the package. Sometimes even the best packages get randomly selected. According to reviews of vendors on darknet forums, good stealth involves measures that allow a package, even once opened, to return to the mail stream with the product undetected. Many methods play into the likelihood of a package seizure. Rubber gloves at the post office can give set off alarm bells, for instance.

This ring of eight, though, worked with an insider when it came to USPS stealth detection—to some degree, at least. Borrelli really only worked with three members of the group: Dante Lozano, Jeffrey Turner and April Racan. Lozano lived in Texas and shipped kilograms of cocaine to Turner and Racon in Pennsylvania. At the time, Borrelli lived in Pennsylvania as well. He worked as a postmaster and advised Turner on how to minimize the chances of law enforcement involvement.

Borrelli collected lists of vacant homes in the area and then have them to Turner. Turner then sent the list to Lozano, who ensured the packages had balls addresses on them. Borrelli opened a PO box for Turner that the DoJ called “untraceable.” He also intercepted packs as they arrived and before other employees saw them. In addition, Borrelli attempted to keep packages from delivery vehicles, minimizing the number of people that interacted with a package.
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