CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Packages sent to locations in Dorchester and Clarendon counties may have contained drugs, according to search warrant applications filed in federal court last month.
The packages originated in California, but they never reached their intended recipients as the US Postal Service discovered them at the Charleston Processing and Distribution Facility in North Charleston, the Dorchester Post Office, and the Manning Post Office.
Tom Gasser, a US Postal Inspector involved in at least one of the cases, said 2,233 narcotics investigations involving the US Postal Inspection Service happened in 2018.
Court documents also revealed this issue is a frequent problem.
The search warrant applications detailed how some drug traffickers prefer to use the US Postal Service, instead of FedEx or UPS, because private companies do not always require search warrants to open or inspect the contents of packages.
Some drug traffickers also prefer overnight or priority delivery services because they are fast, reliable, and can be tracked, according to the court documents.
“The postal service has no desire to be an unwitting participant in trafficking narcotics through the mail. We want to eradicate narcotics through the mail,” Gasser said.
While the US Attorney’s office says they don’t comment on investigative matters, Gasser explained this issue comes down to public safety.
“Every one of us took this job to protect people, to protect the public, to protect our own postal workers who both carry and handle the mail, and to protect the postal service. We don’t want to be used for illegal purposes,” Gasser said. “How the public can help is to be mindful of your environment. You know what belongs in your neighborhood. You know what belongs at your house. If you see something that is off, call somebody.”
The names and addresses on the packages may not lead investigators to who is responsible. Court documents say traffickers are known to disguise their identities and addresses by using fake information.
“There are areas that we typically see more coming from, but we will enforce the controlled substance act no matter where they are shipped from,” Gasser said.