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Press Release

Former Letter Carrier Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge, Admits Dumping More Than 15,000 Pieces of Mail

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Mail Was Found in a Catch Basin and Sewer in Northeast Washington

            WASHINGTON - Christopher Newton, 22, a former U.S. Postal Service employee, pled guilty today to a federal charge for dumping more than 15,000 pieces of mail that he was supposed to deliver, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Paul L. Bowman of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.


            Newton, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to obstruction of mails. The charge carries a statutory maximum of six months in prison and potential financial penalties. He is to be sentenced on Sept. 6, 2017, by the Honorable Senior Judge Ellen S. Huvelle.


            According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Newton worked from December 2015 until May 16, 2016 as a city carrier assistant. He was ultimately assigned to the River Terrace Post Office in Northeast Washington, and his responsibilities included collecting, sorting, and delivering mail to postal customers on routes he was assigned.


            On May 16, 2016, a local television news station informed the Postal Service that mail had been found in a catch basin in an area serviced by the River Terrace Post Office. According to the statement of offense, managers went to the intersection of Douglas Street and Anacostia Avenue NE, where they recovered 74 pieces of mail that had been protruding from the catch basin. On the following day, postal investigators returned to the scene. A manhole cover near the catch basin was removed, and from the sewer, investigators recovered 17 large trash bags of mail – an estimated 15,000 pieces. The mail was soaking wet and clumped together, and it shredded to pieces as it was picked up. This mail was unsalvageable due to sewer contamination.


            The catch basin was located on a route serviced by Newton. On May 16, 2016, after a supervisor confronted him about the first batch of dumped mail, Newton announced that he was quitting his job immediately. In his guilty plea, Newton admitted that he alone dumped the mail that was recovered on May 16 and May 17, 2016.


            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Bowman commended the work of those who investigated the case from the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, including Special Agent Michael Wu. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Aisha Keys and Brittany Phillips, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily A. Miller, who is prosecuting the matter.

Updated June 21, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-132