A gaggle of United Parcel Service (UPS) staff are accused of smuggling shipments of drugs and counterfeit vaping oils from Mexico and distributing the illicit merchandise across the U.S. for at the least a decade.
Authorities arrested 11 folks, together with 4 UPS drivers and supervisors, in Tucson, Ariz., for his or her roles within the alleged smuggling ring, the Division of Homeland Safety stated. Investigators say the suspects moved 1000’s of kilos of marijuana and different medicine into the U.S. from Mexico every week utilizing the corporate’s customary cardboard bins, bypassing safety measures.
Mario Barcelo, a 20-year UPS worker and dispatch supervisor — was named because the alleged ringleader of the operation. In a information launch, the federal authorities stated officers realized of the operation in 2017. Barcelo was arrested on Nov. 13.
Prosecutors stated the 49-year-old used his place within the Tucson UPS distribution facility to make sure the drug shipments have been loaded to the right vehicles and delivered to the supposed locations. Authorities in Tucson had been investigating Barcelo since 2009, The Washington Post reported.
Nevertheless, they turned annoyed when UPS wouldn’t cooperate with them to intercept and forestall potential crimes. They cited a 2017 incident during which they have been prevented from getting into the Tucson facility after studying of a bootleg cargo.
In an announcement to Fox Information, UPS stated it’s cooperating with legislation enforcement however is “not at liberty to discuss the details of the arrests as this is an ongoing investigation.”
Apart from Barcelo, UPS supervisor Gary Love and drivers Michael Castro and Thomas Mendoza are charged with cash laundering, drug possession and drug distribution. Seven others are dealing with expenses on transport medicine and working stash homes.
Raul Garcia Cordova, 47, faces greater than a dozen expenses. A police raid at his residence turned up 50,000 counterfeit vaping pens, a Chevrolet Corvette and a Vary Rover.
Prosecutors stated Barcelo and the alleged suspects develop their operation from delivering marijuana to extra profitable medicine and black-market vaping pens.
Undercover officers posing as drug traffickers contacted Barcelo to ship a pretend cargo of cocaine in 2018 and 2019. Trackers have been positioned inside bins containing the merchandise to paperwork its motion and the telephones of UPS staff have been tapped.
Police additionally obtained video footage of the group coordinating the operations.