Former Postal Employee Pleads Guilty to Role in Federal Marijuana Conspiracy

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A former postal employee who helped deliver marijuana which was mailed from California to Huntington over a period of several years pled guilty today to a federal drug charge, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Chris Crookshanks, 43, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute marijuana in federal court in Huntington. Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the West Virginia State Police – Violent Crime and Drug Task Force West.

“Crookshanks was a letter carrier turned drug dealer,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “He used his position with the U.S. Postal Service to participate in and further a scheme to distribute marijuana – a complete betrayal of the public trust.”

Between 2013 and March of 2018, Crookshanks conspired with James Waylon Molinaro and others to distribute marijuana in the Huntington area. During the conspiracy, Molinaro acquired marijuana in California and arranged for it to be shipped through the United States mail from California to Huntington. Once the parcels containing marijuana arrived in Huntington, Molinaro paid multiple postal employees, including Crookshanks who was a letter carrier with the postal service, to deliver the parcels on their assigned delivery routes or to meet Molinaro at other locations to provide the parcels to him. Crookshanks admitted that he was responsible for the delivery of up to 60 kilograms of marijuana during his participation in the conspiracy.

Molinaro pled guilty on August 1, 2019, to possession with intent to distribute marijuana based on his involvement in the conspiracy. Molinaro also pled guilty to prohibited possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from an unrelated investigation and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 4, 2019.

Crookshanks faces up to 5 years in federal prison when he is sentenced, also on November 4, 2019.

Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.