It is a busy time of year at the post office but mixed in with all of those holiday gifts being sent around the nation are packages containing controlled substances – many of which land in the hands of postal inspectors in San Diego.
NBC 7 obtained search warrants detailing this cat-and-mouse criminal activity.
According to these documents – part of the latest search warrant request from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – drugs like Xanax, Ritalin, and even Ecstasy are being mailed off in packages, with San Diego serving as the middle ground between Mexico and cities across America.
You might think it’s like a needle in a haystack – finding suspicious packages in the mix of all this mail – but postal inspectors are trained to look for specific characteristics in packages suspected of being used in smuggling rings.
First, the parcels typically are mailed through overnight delivery services, narrowing the criteria. Everything from the size, shape, and hand-written addresses provide clues to the possibility of controlled substances inside.
As a hotspot for smuggling rings, San Diego is one of the country's most important cities for interdiction programs with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Some parcels recently seized by inspectors in San Diego included fictitious names not associated with the return address; the people who live at these actual homes in Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Poway may not even know their address was randomly used.
As for the address on the receiving end, the name associated with it is almost always fake, too. Often, the intended recipient doesn't even live at the address.
Although most of these couriers use outside blue bins to avoid detection, last year inspectors identified a woman sending Ritalin and Xanax at post offices in the South Bay.
So, while it’s a busy time of the year at the post office, it’s just another day at the office for postal inspectors who deal with this type of work year-round.