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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fifth Defendant Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Mail From Wasco Post Offices

FRESNO, Calif. —Mayra Alejandra Soria, 30, formerly of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to steal and possess stolen mail and one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.  Soria is the last of five co-conspirators to plead guilty to mail theft crimes after being indicted in May 2013 as part of Operation Broken Mailbox, the United States Postal Inspection Service’s ongoing effort to work with local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute stolen mail offenses.

According to court documents, from March 17, 2013 until May 21, 2013, Soria and others engaged in a conspiracy to steal mail in Wasco and elsewhere in the Bakersfield area, in order to steal checks and commit identity theft.  As part of the conspiracy, Soria and her co-conspirators fished mail out of U.S. mail collection boxes located at Bakersfield area post offices and then looked for third party information and financial instruments, including checks and money orders to cash.  The defendants then altered and negotiated the stolen checks – sometimes by depositing them into accounts they had opened in the names of identity theft victims.  In total, Soria and her co-defendants stole checks and other items valued at more than $120,000.

This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the Wasco Kern County Sherriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Megan A. S. Richards is prosecuting the case.

San Francisco Division Inspector in Charge Rafael Nunez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated “we are working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those responsible for mail theft to protect postal customer’s mail from theft.”

Defendant Soria is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on June 16, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. Defendant Soria faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. 

Co-defendant Eric Alberto Herrera, 26, pled guilty to conspiracy to steal mail in December and was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment.  Co-defendant Elisee Torres-Pacheco, 36, pled guilty to possession of stolen mail and was sentenced to 36 months of probation.  Co-defendants Brisa Celeste Castillo, 33, and Mateo Manuel Santiago, 25, each have pled guilty to conspiracy to steal mail and are awaiting sentencing by Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill.  Defendant Castillo faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Her sentencing is set for May 5, 2014.  Defendant Santiago, who pled guilty to one count of unlawfully possessing a postal mail key in addition to conspiracy, faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  His sentencing is set for April 28, 2014.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:13-cr-00219 LJO
Updated April 8, 2015