Investigators said three U.S. postal employees in Akron targeted packages being shipped by drug traffickers, stole the packages and then sold the marijuana to a drug dealer, splitting the profits.
Rabih Kairouz, 29, of Akron, Anton D. Easter, Jr., 26, of Akron, Scott Gay, Jr., 33, of Canton, and Corey Turnbull, 26, of Ravenna were named in the three-count indictment filed Tuesday.
Kairouz, Gay and Turnbull worked as supervisors for the U.S. Postal Service in Akron.
The trio allegedly set aside parcels that they believed to contain drugs, later opened the packages and sold close to 100 pounds of marijuana to Easter, sharing the profits.
Acting U.S. Attorney David Sierleja, of the Northern District of Ohio explained that the employees used their training to identify drug packages for their own illegal benefit.
“The employees are very skilled at identifying suspicious packages based on a set of criteria,” Sierleja said.
Special Agent Scott Balfour of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General told News 5 that the suspects were “profiling packages.”
“They were stealing packages from drug dealers and then selling them to other drug dealers,” Balfour said.
After receiving anonymous tips about suspicious behavior, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Akron Police Department launched an investigation.
All four suspects were charged in federal district court.
According to court records, Turnbull has a history of marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges in Ohio.
But Balfour explained that charges would not have precluded him from working for USPS. Even certain convictions would not bar employment.
“Depending on the offense, how long ago it was, the seriousness of the offense, what that person has done since the offense to rehabilitate themselves,” he said, “That’s all taken into account.”
According to court records, the offenses took place between February and May.
Balfour said that in the context of the hundreds of thousands of USPS employees, the rate of this type of illegal activity is low.
“I hope this serves as a deterrent to those postal employees who are out there, who may be doing this just to let them know that eventually, we’re going to catch up to you,” he said.
A jury trial is currently set for Aug. 7.