Nation & World

They delivered the mail — and cocaine

They didn’t just deliver the mail — they delivered cocaine.

That’s what 16 U.S. Postal Service employees working across metropolitan Atlanta have been charged with in federal indictments. The defendants are accused of accepting bribes to deliver packages containing cocaine.

The postal workers were arrested as part of a wide-reaching sting operation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

“Postal employees are entrusted to perform a vital service as they travel through our communities, often visiting our homes and interacting personally with our citizens,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a prepared statement. “The defendants in this case allegedly sold that trust out to someone they knew to be a drug dealer, and simply for cash in their pockets they were willing to endanger themselves and the residents on their routes and bring harmful drugs into the community.”

The postal employees allegedly accepted bribes from a person they believed was a drug trafficker using the U.S. mail to ship cocaine into the Atlanta area, according to Horn, the indictments and information presented in court.

In exchange for the bribe payments, the defendants allegedly provided special addresses that the drug trafficker could use to ship packages of cocaine. The defendants then intercepted the packages and delivered them to the drug trafficker.

They did not realize the drug trafficker was actually working with law enforcement and the packages they delivered contained fake drugs.

The defendants range in age from 31 to 63, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger