Former Cleveland mail carriers sentenced in marijuana delivery scheme

CLEVELAND, Ohio – 2/15/17 -Two former Cleveland mail carriers accused of delivering marijuana to a drug dealer while on their routes were placed on electronic monitoring Tuesday.

Devon Blake, 25, was sentenced to eight months on electronic monitoring and three years’ probation after pleading guilty to accepting bribes as a public official. Rashon Blake, 25, was sentenced to six months’ electronic monitoring and three months’ supervision after also pleading to a bribery charge. Read more at Cleveland.com – Original Justice Department release covering all 5 Cleveland letter carriers is below:

Five Cleveland mail carriers indicted for conspiring to deliver shipments of marijuana

May 31, 2016 – Five U.S. Postal carriers were charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana after helping arrange shipments of marijuana shipped via the U.S. mail and gave them to another drug dealer, said Carole S. Rendon, Acting U.S. States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio

Named in the 11-count indictment are Aaron L. Kelly, 28, Dartagnan B. Mitchell, 28, Tamika S. Embry, 32, Devon Blake, 25 and Rashon Blake, 25, all of Cleveland.

Count 1 of the indictment charges all five defendants with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance between May and July 2015.  Count 2 through 6 charge the defendants individually with public corruption violations for accepting things of value in return for official actions in relation to their jobs. Count 7 through 11 charge the defendants individually with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

The five postal carriers informed Kevin Collins of their work schedules and addresses on their respective routes. Collins then arranged for packages of marijuana to be shipped to addresses on the routes of the defendants and sent them when he knew the defendants were scheduled to be working, according to the indictment.

Blake, Blake, Embry, Kelly and Mitchell took the parcels containing marijuana and, instead of delivering them to the listed addresses, gave the packages directly to Collins. They often improperly scanned or did not scan the marijuana packages in an effort to disguise the package’s delivery status, according to the indictment.

Collins paid cash to the defendants in return for their actions, according to the indictment.

Collins has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and using firearm during drug trafficking crime. He is awaiting sentencing.

“These mail carriers used their positions not to serve the public, but to be spokes in a drug-trafficking organization,” Rendon said. “They violated the trust of the public and their employer, and now must answer to criminal charges.”

U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge of the Eastern Area Field Office Monica S. Weyler, said: “The vast majority of the nation’s 400,000 postal employees are honest, hard-working individuals. It is troubling when a few of those employees choose to violate the trust given to them to use their positions for personal gain. These investigations show that USPS OIG special agents and postal inspectors will work diligently to find those few employees who choose to deliver drugs instead of the mail, and will seek their criminal prosecution and removal from the Postal Service. The employees named in these charges threw away their federal career for a few hundred dollars. Other employees who are engaging in this conduct should ask themselves, is it worth it? To report postal employee misconduct or criminal activity, contact special agents at 888-USPS-OIG or www.uspsoig.gov.”

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal records, if any, the Defendant’s role in the offenses and the unique characteristics of the violations.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew B. Kall and Daniel J. Riedl.  The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Office of Inspector General, Cleveland.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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