Mail thieves indicted
HOUSTON – Two men face several charges after allegedly breaking into a blue mail receptacle at the River Oaks U.S. Post Office in Houston, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Tarek K. Sonnier, 24, Houston, and Monte Drayton, 35, The Bronx, New York, are charged obstruction of correspondence, theft of mail matter and illegal possession of postal keys. They are expected to appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge in the near future.
Both men were previously charged by criminal complaint and remain in custody.
The charges allege Sonnier and Drayton illegally entering the mailbox in the parking lot of the River Oaks Post Office on West Gray Street in Houston and removed mail.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 18 and Nov. 21, a light-colored Chevrolet Camaro with distinctive damage pulled up to the receptable, according to the charges. Two men allegedly exited the vehicle, used an illegally possessed key and loaded all the mail into the vehicle.
Again, in the early morning hours of Nov. 23, what authorities believe to be the same Camaro drove up to the same receptable exited the vehicle, according to the charges. The complaint further alleges two men, later identified as Sonnier and Drayton, were opening the mailbox with what was determined to be a stolen key.
Authorities then took the two men into custody. Upon their arrest, law enforcement allegedly recovered four stolen postal keys.
If convicted, Sonnier and Drayton could face up to 10 years in prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation along with the FBI, Houston Police Department and members from the Texas Anti-Gang Center. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard D. Hanes is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.