Ex-Postal Worker Who Stole Marijuana From Confiscated Package Sentenced to Prison

A former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) worker was recently sentenced to two months in federal prison after pleading guilty to theft of mail matter by a postal employee, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia said in a statement on Tuesday. Officials said that the ex-employee stole marijuana from a confiscated package last summer.

According to the release, the crime happened last August. Howard Kerns, 53, was working in a USPS facility in Brunswick, Georgia when a package believed to contain marijuana arrived. The package was reportedly set aside for further inspection; however, postal management later discovered that the package had been opened and its contents removed.

When Kerns was questioned about the delivery by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG), he admitted to stealing the package's contents. He was later fired from his position.

Additionally, his two-month prison sentence will be followed by two years of supervised release, according to the statement.

Oddly enough, Kerns isn't the first postal worker to be arrested for his involvement in a drug-related crime.

A postal worker from New Jersey admitted to stealing marijuana from several packages in 2018, the AP reported. According to officials, he sought out parcels from "Arizona, California or Colorado and then smelled, opened or poked holes in the packages to search for marijuana."

In total, he reportedly stole $32,000 worth of the drug.

Also in 2018, 16 Atlanta postal workers were sentenced to serve between three and nine years in prison after they were found guilty of accepting bribes from drug traffickers to deliver cocaine on their routes.

"The traffickers believed that the postal workers would be overlooked by law enforcement officers and therefore less likely to be caught," Newsweek reported at the time.

In Tuesday's release, however, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David H. Estes defended the integrity of the USPS and its employees.

"Integrity of our U.S. Mail is dependent on the honesty of postal employees," said Estes. "Howard Kerns is the rare exception of workers who fail that test, and is being held accountable for that failure."

Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Ulrich, Southern Area Field Office, added: "The vast majority of Postal Service employees are honest, hardworking individuals who would never violate the public trust. An employee who decides otherwise will be aggressively investigated by USPS OIG special agents.

"This case serves as an excellent example of the successful partnership between the USPS OIG and U.S. Attorney's Office to pursue and prosecute employees involved in criminal activity," Ulrich concluded.

An ex-postal worker who stole marijuana from a confiscated package was sentenced to federal prison. Howard Kerns was sentenced to two months. MysteryShot/iStock