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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Oklahoma City Man of Mail Theft and Witness Tampering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal jury has convicted DONALD EUGENE COOKS, 49, of Oklahoma City, of conspiracy to commit mail theft, possession of stolen mail, and witness tampering, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester.

On October 3, 2023, a federal grand jury returned a four-count Second Superseding Indictment against Cooks, charging him with conspiracy to commit mail theft, two counts of being in possession of stolen mail, and witness tampering. On March 28, 2024, after a three-day trial, a federal jury found Cooks guilty on all counts.

According to evidence presented at trial, in July of 2022, Cooks and co-defendant IRVIN HERBERT SAWYER, 40, of Norman, conspired together to steal mail from an Oklahoma City Post Office. At the time, Sawyer was employed as a rural carrier associate, and knew the access code to enter the Post Office, which he shared with Cooks. The jury heard testimony that on July 19, 2022, on at least two occasions, Cooks entered the Post Office after hours using the code given by Sawyer.  On the first occasion he successfully stole mail, which he took back to his motel room.  Returning for more, Cooks and another person attempted to steal a large amount of mail, which they loaded into the bed of Cooks’ truck.  However, while still loading the mail, the alarm was tripped and the Oklahoma City Police arrived before the mail could be taken from the parking lot. Cooks fled the scene but was soon detained and arrested.  The investigation quickly led to Cooks’ motel, where Oklahoma City Police found several items of stolen mail in his room and empty mail packaging in the dumpster. The jury heard further testimony that in July of 2023, while in jail, Cooks had a message passed to a government witness attempting to intimidate the witness and keep them from testifying at his trial. 

Following his conviction, Cooks faces up to 35 years in federal prison, and fines totaling up to $1,000,000, at sentencing. Sentencing will be set in approximately 90 days.

On July 18, 2023, Sawyer pleaded guilty to conspiring with Cooks to commit mail theft. Sawyer faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Oklahoma City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bow Bottomly and Charles Brown prosecuted the case.

Reference is made to public filings for additional information.

Updated March 29, 2024