A Unit 8 investigation reveals drug traffickers are using the U.S. Postal Service to ship their drugs and money. It's fast, it's cheap and many dealers feel, there's less chance of being caught.
For decades, the U.S. Postal Service has promoted its Priority and Express Mail for business.
But drug traffickers have now realized it works for their business too.
Federal search warrants show recently police in Oregon have intercepted both drugs and money, including thousands of dollars in cash, shipped by Express and Priority Mail.
I think we've seen a lot more of that here in the past five or six years, Chris Gibson, director of the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
A recent example includes the case of Daniel Gorham. He's pleading not guilty to federal drug charges. Court papers indicate Gorham used the Portland Air Mail Facility near PDX to ship methamphetamine to Alaska.
Police say he disguised the drugs by surrounding them with arts and crafts supplies, then boxed them up it in an express mail box, with a fictitious return address.
It's very non descript and anonymous. You get the boxes, you put your drugs or currency in the box, you put it in the mailbox and it goes or it doesn't go.
Unlike a traditional hand to hand drug deals, traffickers feel there's a low risk of being caught. It's difficult to find who shipped a package, once it's in the system.
It goes into a bin with 10 or 12 or 100 other packages that look just like it, so it is pretty easy to disguise. Drug traffickers like priority mail for the same reason consumers do, it is cheap, typically a flat rate, it is reliable and it is fast, Gibson said.
And with new technology, drug dealers are able to track their shipments through the Internet or a toll free number.
You're talking about pounds at a time and typically when you are talking pounds at a time, it is a good indication that it is a wholesale operation, Gibson said.
Records show police are intercepting meth, heroin and prescription drugs, but most cases involve marijuana.
Law enforcement sources believe, dealers are exploiting Oregon's medical marijuana program and then shipping their drugs throughout the U.S.
But they warn: police and drug sniffing dogs are checking the mail.
Now that drug traffickers have found express delivery, police say it's not just the U.S. Postal Service. Drug traffickers are also using FedEx and other private carriers.
Last year, nationwide U.S. Postal Inspectors along with local police arrested 1,327 suspects for drug trafficking via the mail. They seized 31,000 pound of illegal narcotics.