Eight workers at a U.S. Postal Service processing center in Bethpage were accused of stealing 129 pounds of marijuana mailed from the West Coast and then selling it over a six-month period.
The suspects—three of whom are from Long Island—were arrested Tuesday on federal charges of theft of mail, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and marijuana possession with intent to distribute.
“Not only did the defendants allegedly abuse their positions as Postal Service employees, but in doing so they endangered the security of the postal service facility and their coworkers,” James Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York office, said.
The suspects from LI include 37-year-old Eugene Williams of Brentwood, 25-year-old Jerrod Rollerson of Hempstead and 43-year-old Jose Hurtado of North Bellmore. The other five suspects were identified as 29-year-old Kempleton Nash, Jr. and 34-year-old Lloyd Johnson, both of Queens, 28-year-old Timothy Marshall of Far Rockaway and two 36-year-old Brooklyn residents: Tanicha Grenald-Allen and Sherwin Parkes.
The octet allegedly stole oddly shaped U.S. Priority Mail parcels they suspected of containing marijuana from the processing line at the Logistical and Distribution Priority Mail Processing Center in Bethpage, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
In some cases, they placed the packages in a corridor through a fire exit door that had a disabled alarm before taking the items outside, authorities said. In other instances, they put the items back on the line after re-directing delivery to alternative addresses of their choosing, according to investigators.
Federal agents seized 129 pounds of marijuana from a dozen parcels with an estimated street value ranging from $100,000 to $930,000, prosecutors said. Authorities noted that priority mail has become a popular way of shipping marijuana for major drug traffickers.
They are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday before Judge Gary Brown at Central Islip federal court.