NEWARK, N.J. – A former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail handler today admitted stealing approximately 16 packages containing marijuana, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Akeem Cauthen, 30, of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of theft of mail. He was released on $40,000 unsecured bond.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Cauthen was a mail handler at the Northern New Jersey Metro Processing and Distribution Center in Teterboro, New Jersey. From May to November 2017, Cauthen looked for parcels from Arizona, California, or Colorado, and then smelled, opened or poked holes in the packages to search for marijuana. Upon finding marijuana, Cauthen stole the parcels by replacing the original mailing labels with labels containing addresses in Paterson where he later picked them up. Overall, Cauthen obtained approximately $32,000 worth of marijuana.
The theft of mail charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 24, 2018.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents with USPS-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi, Northeast Area Field Office, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jihee G. Suh of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.