The U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s narcotics program is intended to protect U.S. Postal Service employees at nearly 32,000 facilities from the dangers of handling packages containing illegal narcotics and ensuring public trust in the mail. The Postal Inspection Service conducts investigations of individuals attempting to use the mail for drug trafficking. In fiscal year 2015, the Postal Inspection Service seized about 34,000 pounds of marijuana from the mailstream.
When postal employees suspect a package contains marijuana or any illegal drug, they must [redacted], inform a supervisor, and contact the Postal Inspection Service for guidance. [Redacted].
We initiated this audit to address allegations regarding postal employees’ handling of packages suspected of containing marijuana at seven post offices in the Capital Metro, Great Lakes, Pacific, and Western areas.
Our objective was to assess the Postal Inspection Service’s and Postal Service’s handling of packages suspected of containing marijuana.
What the OIG Found
Postal Inspection Service and Postal Service officials did [redacted].
Postal Inspection Service procedures allowed packages [redacted]. Specifically:
The Postal Inspection Service instructed employees at four post offices to [redacted]. In at least one instance, [redacted].
Postal inspectors [redacted].
Lastly, although postal facilities were secured, employees at three post offices [redacted]. All three facilities took corrective actions by providing additional security for these packages.
These conditions occurred because the practice that allows postal inspectors discretion [redacted]. Postal Inspection Service did not have clear and comprehensive guidance for [redacted]. Further, post office personnel were not always sufficiently trained to provide additional security for packages suspected of containing marijuana.
Insufficient controls over handling and tracking packages suspected of containing marijuana from initial retrieval from the mail to final disposition increases the risk these packages could be lost, stolen, mishandled, or undetected. This could expose employees to harm or danger, foster criminal activity, adversely affect drug investigations and prosecutions, and negatively impact the Postal Service’s brand, and the integrity of the mail.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management implement a nationwide policy for handling, tracking, and providing additional security for packages suspected of containing marijuana to reduce the risk of these packages being lost or stolen; and develop training to ensure responsible personnel understand their roles and responsibilities.