Shipping marijuana is harder than ever
Legalization in some states has put the national parcel system on high alert.
The postal service
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is allowed to use this name because it is a government agency and therefore subject to federal law. And since the USPS is governed by federal guidelines, any illegal use of its services is a criminal offense. That means anything under 50 grams can potentially get you in federal prison for up to 5 years. The penalties only increase as the amount increases. Postal inspectors must obtain an arrest warrant to search a suspicious package. But suspicion alone is enough to locate and track down packages.
It was reported that intercepted packages suspected of containing illegal substances increased by 20% by the end of 2013 and arrested 26,622 people. 68% of those arrests involved marijuana. The Postal Service is unwilling to be your drug mule, so they offer up to $ 50,000 in rewards for information leading to convictions of those who post illegal substances. A nice bonus to any postal worker’s salary.
FedEx versus UPS
So a safer choice is to use UPS, FedEx, or some other private parcel service, right? Not correct. In 2014, the US Department of Justice accused FedEx of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances over its alleged role in shipping illegal prescription drugs. While this isn’t marijuana, it does suggest that FedEx will examine packages much more closely for illegal substances.
Once upon a time, the greatest threat to your illegal shipment was that employees stole it, because who is going to report it missing? UPS, FedEx and DHL have all stated that they are working closely with law enforcement to monitor illegally shipped weed and marijuana products in states where the pot is legal.
Since they are third party vendors, they don’t need a warrant to search or seize your package. The Supreme Court ruled that giving your package to a third party “removes any reasonable expectation of privacy”. Oh, and that $ 50,000 reward for convicting those who ship illegal substances isn’t just for USPS employees. Employees of private parcel service providers have also dangled this financial carrot in front of their faces. Your average worker sorting packages in a warehouse now has a decision to either tear down your package or drop it off and go for the big buck.
Big mission, big punishment
All parcel delivery companies with warehouses in legal marijuana states are already on high alert for those trying to send goodies home. Take the case of a Johnny Wolfe from San Angelo, Texas. He visited two legal weed dispensaries in Colorado last January and bought nine pounds of high-quality weed valued at $ 58,000 and other marijuana products valued at $ 5,000. Then he put everything in vacuum-sealed bags and sent it to his home address via UPS.
The package was found suspicious at the UPS warehouse in Pueblo, Colorado. Although it is not known why it was classified as a suspect, authorities contacted San Angelo law enforcement. When Mr. Wolfe was about to sign his package, he was arrested for possession with intent to distribute and is currently awaiting trial on a $ 100,000 bond that is only available in cash. The indictment is a Class 2 crime punishable by 8 to 24 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 1,000,000. So the lesson here is not to get greedy trying to ship something illegal.
The sheer volume of packages these carriers handle on a daily basis creates the opportunity for your package to be delivered undisturbed. A couple of joints worth it are more likely to come through undetected than nine pounds. But it only takes one time. DEA officials have said they won’t break every package they find, but they are starting to monitor addresses they suspect may be receiving illegal shipments.
There is a lot of information on the internet about methods of shipping weed and cannabis products. But in the end it’s still a risk. The USPS recently seized 30 pound pot that was in vacuum-sealed bags in tin cans that had been weighed to match the weight on the labels, and the lids were resealed. The discovery was made by the Department of Homeland Security. Did I mention that they are very involved in packet monitoring these days? In this post-9/11 world, it’s harder than ever to be sneaky. Let’s continue to be careful out there.