Delivering Justice to Opioid dealers
USPIS is committed to stopping fentanyl traffickers with the most advanced technology available. Discover how our inspectors are using data, forensics, and citizens’ tips to protect Americans and apprehend opioid dealers who send illegal drugs through the mail.
USPIS Cyber and Analytics group combines sophisticated technology to predict patterns and discover insights. These models allow us to crunch huge data sets with more accuracy, and rapidly boost seizure rates – even when offenders develop new tactics.
To enhance our targeting efforts, we’ve linked our local, national, and international partners as well as standardized our tracking technologies. This enables us to share real-time data with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Fusion Center, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
We employ a robust, automated sorting process at all International Service Centers to quickly track a higher volume of packages. Shared parcel sorting machines help USPIS and CBP work together to facilitate holds and intercepts.
Advance Electronic Data
USPIS is working with CBP and foreign postal operators to ensure Advance Electronic Data inside barcodes is on all inbound mail. The detailed information in AED, like full names and addresses, weight, date, and more can be instantly captured in both outgoing and incoming processing centers. Better data means quicker interceptions.
Rapid Substance Identification
New high-tech analyzers help USPIS field divisions quickly and safely scan for unknown and illegal drugs, like fentanyl. Now inspectors can test over 300 illicit substances without needing to open containers or plastic bags.
USPIS operates its own world-class National Forensic Laboratory with some of the best forensic scientists and analysts in the field. Every day, they examine a myriad of evidence from fingerprints and DNA to narcotics and dark web activity. Annually, these specialists examine around 275,000 items, identifying an average of 900 suspects.
The Postal Inspection Service is turning the tide against opioid dealers. Detecting and stopping their shipments is only the beginning. Tracing illegal drugs back to the sources and shutting them down is the ultimate mission.
Fentanyl and Opioids
“You Can Try to Hide” ….in 2023, a combined effort between USPIS and other federal and international partners led to the largest takedown to-date of international DarkNet fentanyl and opioids trafficking. The coordinated effort spanned the United States, Europe, and South America. Operation SpecTOR resulted in a record 288 arrests, and more seizures of any prior operation: 117 firearms; 850 kilograms of drugs which included 64 kilograms of fentanyl and fentanyl-laced narcotics; and $53 million in cash and virtual currencies. “Our message to criminals on the dark web is this: You can try to hide in the furthest reaches of the internet, but the Justice Department will find you and hold you accountable for your crimes.” — Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
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Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Takedown
Between August 2018 and November 2020, Postal Inspectors in Pennsylvania worked with partners at the FBI, DEA and multiple state and local law enforcement agencies to bring a total of 30 indictments against members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club for violations including narcotics trafficking and firearm possession. The defendants included high-ranking members of the club, who oversaw a violent trafficking ring selling cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, marijuana and other illegal drugs across western Pennsylvania. In some cases, members of the motorcycle club used the Dark Web to facilitate narcotics shipments through the U.S. Mail. The complex Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation included three months of court-authorized Title III wiretaps of phones linked to several defendants
Dark Web Narcotics
In 2020, USPIS played a major role in a worldwide effort to dismantle narcotics traffickers on the Dark Web in Operation DisrupTor. As an integral member of JCODE (Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement), the Inspection Service worked with federal law enforcement partners and Europol to target criminals who sell and ship narcotics and other dangerous goods around the world by exploiting the U.S. Mail and express consignment carriers. This coordinated operation led to a total 179 arrests, the seizure of dozens of weapons, hundreds of kilograms of narcotics and over $6.5 million.
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Silk Road 2.0
Next Stop, Prison
After deleting the original Silk Road from the dark web, USPIS again joined a multiagency probe to prevent Silk Road 2.0 from taking its place. With their help, the mastermind behind this new marketplace was arrested, convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. Before being shut down, Silk Road 2.0 was shipping hundreds of kilos of illegal drugs, including opioids, around the world. That’s 150,000 active users generating $8 million/month driven off the road.
Peter the Great
Data Takes Down “Peter The Great”
After synthetic opioids killed an Oregon woman, USPIS was alerted by authorities. Analytics uncovered evidence that the deceased’s mail was connected to a dark web vendor called “Peter the Great.” The resulting investigation led to the interception of over 130 more shipments from the suspect. Following the data trail, authorities descended on his residence and arrested him. Their search revealed a clandestine lab and more than 40 pounds of illegal drugs, including synthetic opioids.
From: Hong Kong
To: No One
Suspicious shipments from Hong Kong sender “MDD” were identified by U.S. Postal Inspectors. Sharing intelligence and coordinating with authorities overseas, 275 more mailings were seized, all containing illegal drugs or controlled substances – leading to the seizure of one kilogram of fentanyl. This bust alone could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives – because a lethal dosage of fentanyl can be as low as 2 milligrams.
Cracking Hollywood’s Dark Web Market
After busting a local resident who received illegal drugs, law enforcement in Quitman, Arkansas, alerted USPIS. The evidence trail led them to Los Angeles County, where they worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hunt down the source. Quickly, they discovered and shut down two separate LA area drug rings that were using dark web markets to distribute illegal substances.
Investigating an overdose-related package with a coalition of U.S.-based agencies, USPIS in Maryland and Arkansas soon discovered fingerprints on related mail from a Pikesville, MD, resident. When authorities searched his home, they recovered a laptop used to run dark web vendor “DoggFood,” a firearm, and over 100 grams of illegal drugs.
Closing The Largest Underground Drug Bazaar
Taking down Alphabay, the biggest marketplace on the dark web since Silk Road, was a massive undertaking. USPIS joined law enforcement in Thailand and five other countries to shut down this illicit drug empire that had more than $1 billion in transactions. Alphabay previously hosted 200,000 users, 40,000 vendors, and had nearly 250 places to buy heroin, opioids, and other illegal drugs.
Wall Street Market
USPIS teamed up with domestic and international law enforcement to take out Wall Street Market in 2019. Cooperating with law enforcement in the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands, agents arrested and charged three men as the masterminds behind the online underground bazaar. At the time, Wall Street Market had 5,400 vendors selling and shipping illegal drugs, including opioids, to 1.5 million customers.
COMBATING ILLICIT DRUGS IN THE MAIL:
USPS DRUG STRATEGY
Winning the battle against illicit drugs in the mail is a top priority for the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The mission of the Inspection Service is protecting the American people and the U.S. Mail from illicit drug activity. USPIS is also committed to crime prevention and victim assistance. If you or someone you know is in need of addiction treatment, please contact the National Helpline:
Find treatment near you:
Report a Crime
Help us end the opioid epidemic. If you know someone who’s mailing illegal drugs or has received them, alert Postal Inspectors. You can help save lives.
Call Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455