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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Postal Service Employees Arrested At O’Hare Airport For Opening And Stealing Contents From Packages Including Narcotics

CHICAGO — Two Postal Service employees were arrested today for allegedly opening and stealing the contents of Express Mail and Priority Mail parcels, which included narcotics.  The defendants, Aramis Brown and Zaphronsia Wheeler, were arrested following an investigation by United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (Postal OIG) and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

Brown, 29, of Chicago, and Wheeler, 39, of Chicago, were charged by criminal complaints that were unsealed following their initial appearances today. They appeared today before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason in U.S. District Court and were released on a $4500  bond.

According to the complaint affidavits, Brown and Wheeler are Postal Service employees at the International Service Center located at O’Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois (“International Service Center”) and allegedly have been opening and stealing the contents of Express Mail and Priority Mail parcels. These rifled Express and Priority Mail parcels fit the general profile for parcels which contain narcotics, in that they are sent from narcotics source states, from fictitious senders or to fictitious recipients, and narcotics sniffing canines alert to the parcels.  The defendants are alleged to have stolen contents, some which included narcotics, out of Express and Priority Mail parcels from at least 16 pieces of mail on at least seven occasions.

The arrests and charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Scott Caspall, Special Agent-In-Charge of the Chicago Great Lakes Area Field Office of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General; and Tony Gomez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Plainfield and Romeoville Police Departments assisted in the investigation.

The government is being represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William Novak.

Theft of mail and narcotics offenses carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Complaint
Complaint

Updated July 24, 2015