When mailing Christmas packages this holiday season, be careful not to mail any banned substances such as drugs. Even though marijuana is legal in some states, you cannot send it via the post office. This is called drug trafficking and comes with felony charges.
Approximately 1,000 people are arrested every year for drug trafficking via the U.S. Postal Service. In 2015, 34,305 pounds of marijuana were seized by the USPS, making it the most commonly seized drug.
Why do people opt to choose to ship marijuana via USPS? Because it offers protection thanks to the Fourth Amendment. Under federal law, postal workers cannot open a package without probable cause and a search warrant. Other carriers such as UPS, FedEx and DHL do not offer such protection. They can open packages at their discretion.
Penalties for Mailing Drugs
When you use the postal service in an illegal manner, you face hefty penalties. Because the United State Postal Service is a federal entity, any illegal use will result in a felony. It’s important to remember that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which means that mailing any amount under 50 grams will result in five years in prison. If you mail a larger amount or more dangerous drug like heroin or cocaine, the penalties will increase from there.
These penalties apply not only to the person who mailed the package, but to the recipient as well. If you knew that you were going to receive a package of drugs, you would be considered just as guilty. In fact, as a recipient, you could face drug trafficking charges in the state in which the package was mailed as well as the state in which you received it.
If you received marijuana in the mail by mistake, though, you would not face charges. And yes, this has happened—in Orlando, of all places. A woman and her fiance ordered some storage totes from Amazon earlier this year. They were in for a shock when they received the storage containers, along with 65 pounds of marijuana.
The package was shipped via UPS from Massachusetts by Amazon’s Warehouse Deals. The entire package weighed more than 93 pounds—a hefty weight for just four 27-gallon storage containers.
The couple tried to get answers from Amazon, but went back and forth with customer service for more than a month. They never spoke to a supervisor or received an apology. They did, however, receive a $150 gift card and were told that there was nothing else that could be done.
The customers lived in fear for the first several days and actually stayed at another location. Local police are still investigating the case and have made no arrests so far.
Contact an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney
Even though marijuana is legal in some states, it is still illegal at the federal level. Because the United States Postal Service is a federal government entity, sending any amount of any drug in the mail is a serious crime.
Florida has strict drug laws—some of the harshest laws in the country. If you are facing charges for mailing drugs, you need aggressive legal representation. Contact the offices of Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law today at (407) 377-0150 to discuss your situation with us.