Kentucky postal workers plead guilty to taking drugs intended for veterans

FRANKFORT, Ky., Nov. 29 — The U.S. Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s office for Eastern District of Kentucky issued the following press release:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General jointly announced today that two U.S. mail carriers have admitted to stealing mail packages containing prescription pills.

Pamela J. Hawkins, 40, pleaded guilty today to theft of mail matter and in a separate case, James Carter, 40, pleaded guilty to the same charge yesterday.

Hawkins admitted that she took 10 to 11 drug parcels, over the past year and a half, that were intended for veterans living in Lawrenceburg, Ky. The parcels contained hydrocodone pills.

Carter admitted that while working for the Lexington Processing and Distribution Center, he stole up to 60 drug shipments, consisting primarily of hydrocodone, that were intended for veterans living in Lexington, Georgetown, Louisville, Morehead, Nicholasville, Danville, London, Corbin, Pikeville, and Manchester among other cities in Kentucky.

According to Carter’s plea agreement, on February 11, 2009, investigators conducted surveillance on Carter while he was working and approached him as he was about to leave work for the day. They found drugs in his pockets, sock and vehicle.

The investigation into both cases started after the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General received complaints from individuals who weren’t receiving the drug parcels mailed to them by the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is no evidence in either case that the defendants were distributing the pills.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney David A. Marye represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case.

Hawkins will appear for sentencing in Frankfort on March 13 and Carter will appear in Lexington for his sentencing on March 1. If convicted, both defendants face a maximum prison sentence of five years. However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentences.