Why mail a letter when that same message will arrive instantly via email with a few simple keystrokes? Because drugs and drug money can't be delivered electronically, that's why.
On March 28, DEA agents and Port of Seattle Police brought a drug-sniffing dog to the USPS facility in Tukwila, the local hub where packages from across the country arrive before they are delivered across the Seattle area. Court documents say the agents spotted a suspicious package sent from Fort Myers, Florida to an address in Bellevue.
"It is common for narcotics traffickers to utilized [sic] Express Mail to ensure timely delivery and limit the potential for exposure to law enforcement," DEA task force officer Cory Stairs writes. "...it is common for narcotics traffickers to use hand written labels and provide false information on the labels in an effort to protect the sender or recipient from law enforcement action."
Court documents say the drug dog immediately caught of whiff of something from the package, which, with a little massaging, felt like it contained two thick stacks of cash. Opened later, the contents turned out to be $4,000 in $20s, $50s, and $100s.
The parcel, sent by "S. Vernon," was intended for "R. Wilson," and the address corresponded to a UPS store on Northeast Bellevue Way. Employees at the UPS store told investigators that a customer named Bob Wilson had kept a PO Box there since 1992, and he "frequently and consistently receives inbound packages," including four in the last two months.
"The records indicate that the majority of the packages were shipped via Express Mail or priority mail, which TFO [task force officer] Stairs knows is consistent with Drug Trafficking," the search warrant affidavit says.
Predictably, other addresses and phone numbers listed by "S. Vernon" and "R. Wilson" turned out to be bogus. No charges have been filed recently against a defendant named Robert Wilson in federal court, and a court spokeswoman declined to offer any further details.
"That matter is still under investigation," says Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the Western Washington U.S. Attorney's Office. "There's really nothing more for us to say other than what's in that filed document."