Puerto Rico: postal workers arrested for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

SAN JUAN, P.R. –United States Magistrate Judge Silvia Carreño-Coll authorized a criminal complaint charging Edgardo C. Sánchez-Sosa, Guelvin Benítez-Carrasquillo, and Gellitza Ortiz-Martínez with drug trafficking, mail delay, and tampering with evidence, announced United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG), the U.S. Postal Inspection Services (USPIS), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are in charge of the investigation.

According to the information contained in the affidavit submitted in support of the criminal complaint, on September 24, 2019, the USPS OIG started receiving allegations from the USPIS that parcels were arriving at the Canóvanas, Post Office with the labels broken or swapped and the barcodes torn. The parcels had a new label with a new address. On September 26th, USPS OIG agents executed multiple search warrants on parcels that were handled and relabeled, and all search warrants tested positive for the presence of cocaine.

The investigation also revealed that on October 1, 2019, employee Sánchez-Sosa mishandled parcels and used his phone during the process to take pictures of the parcels. The agents observed that Sánchez-Sosa opened the parcel and manipulated it. At the same time, he was texting on his phone, making and receiving phone calls. Sánchez-Sosa was detained and the parcel was recovered by the agents.

Defendant Guelvin Benítez-Carrasquillo was the Highway Contract Carrier for route 4 in Canóvanas. Benítez-Carrasquillo would receive the packages containing cocaine from Sánchez-Sosa. He was arrested on October 3rd.

In furtherance of the investigation, agents discovered and seized 24 packages of cocaine that defendant from Gellitza Ortiz-Martínez and Sánchez-Sosa. The packages recovered had a combined weight of 25.91kg for an estimated street value of more than $500,000.

The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Postal Service, Special Assistant United States Attorney Camille García. If convicted, the defendants could face a minimum penalty of 10 years up to life in prison. A criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.