DOCUMENT: Fail, Crime

Federal Agents Seize Drugs Sent By Bear In Cave

Address gaffes trip up dopey narcotics traffickers


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Express Drug Deliveries

FEBRUARY 27--When shipping illegal narcotics via the United States Postal Service, traffickers are advised to exert care when fabricating a phony return name and address for packages--or their stash may be intercepted by suspicious federal agents.

Over the past two months, federal court records show, investigators in Minnesota made a pair of drug seizures that were aided by patently phony mailing information contained on Express Mail parcels containing cocaine and marijuana.

In late-December, postal inspectors learned of a suspicious Express Mail piece that was addressed to an individual at a post office box in Taconite, a small city (pop. 360) in northern Minnesota. The package contained a return name of “Billy Bear,” who purportedly lived at “1 Cave Drive” in DeBary, Florida.

A “routine inquiry” by a federal agent determined “the return address to be fictitious.” So there was no Bear living on Cave. Additionally, a narcotics dog alerted to the parcel’s contents.

After securing a search warrant, investigators opened the package and found about 10 grams of cocaine inside, according to an inventory filed in U.S. District Court.

The second suspicious Express Mail parcel, intended for a recipient in Minneapolis, carried a return address that corresponded with a Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary. The package was address to “Schmeckles macmanus.” Another “routine inquiry” by postal agents revealed that “‘Schmeckles Macmanus’ is not known to receive mail” at the Minneapolis address.

Citing the phony name, the envelope’s marijuana odor, and the fact that it was “coming from California, a known drug source state,” agents obtained permission to open the package. Inside they found two small baggies of pot and a bar of “Cannabis Chocolate.”

A third recent narcotics seizure, this one in Cleveland, Ohio, yielded more than nine pounds of marijuana concealed inside a floor cleaner. The Express Mail package, carrying a return address in California, had purportedly been sent from the “Christian Learning Center.” (6 pages)