by Van Smith
Published in City Paper, Jan. 7, 2015
Usually, mail sent to undeliverable addresses are returned to the senders or end up in the so-called “dead letter office” of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in Atlanta. But in Baltimore, USPS letter carrier Antoinette McDaniels accepted $100 every time she went the extra mile to get fictitiously addressed packages to their intended recipients: alleged drug dealers.
This premium, under-the-table service facilitated the delivery last year of 30-plus packages of weed from California, Florida, and Arizona to Baltimore, according to court documents, and ended with drug charges brought in October and November against McDaniels and two of her alleged clients, Gary “Short” Coleman and Cyril “Indian” Boodoo. The alleged ringleader of the scheme, Sulieman “Bey Bey” Pasha, appears to not have been charged.
McDaniels’ delivery route, dubbed “Postal Route #18” in a federal warrant made public in court records yesterday and sworn out in December by USPS postal inspector Douglas Henegar to search phones seized from McDaniels and Coleman, includes the Harwood neighborhood in Baltimore, where the alleged deliveries took place. Less-detailed information about the investigation came to light in another December warrant sworn out by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task-force officer Jamile Boles to search Coleman’s Asquith St. home and Honda Accord.
The probe began last April, when postal inspectors “became aware of suspicious parcel activity that was occurring on Postal Carrier Route #18,” the court documents explain, due to “a large number of parcels that were being delivered through the U.S. Mail that were consistent with narcotics trafficking.” After one of the parcels was opened pursuant to a warrant in October, and found to contain 2,750 grams of marijuana, postal inspectors and agents of the DEA and Maryland State Police set up a surveillance operation of the route, and promptly watched the scheme unfold as the opened parcel was delivered by McDaniels, after she had left in her postal-service vehicle from the Waverly post office, to Boodoo at 26th Street and Guilford Avenue on Oct. 6. After Boodoo put the parcel in his car and “left the area at a high rate of speed,” he was arrested.
The next day, agents approached McDaniels and “asked if she wished to discuss her involvement with the identified drug trafficking organization.” She did, and went to DEA’s Baltimore office to tell her story.
McDaniels explained that while she was on her deliver route last January, Pasha, who had previously lived along her route and “had received numerous large parcels weighing between 10-15 lbs at his previous residence,” the court records state, approached her and “asked if she wanted to make some extra money receiving packages for him.” More specifically, he asked her “if she would be willing to deliver parcels directly to him, though the parcels would be addressed to fictitious addresses.” She agreed, and received $100 for each package—”approximately 1-2 parcels per week . . . for approximately 11 months.” She also “provided several vacant addresses to Pasha,” which “would subsequently appear on the subject parcels she ultimately delivered to Pasha.” She explained that “Pasha communicates with McDaniels by text messaging to alert her that he has an incoming parcel,” and Pasha would meet her on her route so they could exchange money for the packages.
Come August, though, Pasha grew nervous about the arrangement because he “told [McDaniels] that he thought ‘law enforcement’ was following him,” the court documents state. So he introduced her to “Indian” and “Short,” who continued the scheme on Pasha’s behalf.
Coleman was the next to be arrested, after an arranged delivery by McDaniels of two weed packages on Nov. 7, when she gave them to him in the 300 block of East Lorraine Avenue, also in Harwood. Then, after an arrest warrant was issued for McDaniels on Nov. 9, she was arrested on Nov. 10.
In all, the court records state, the alleged conspiracy oversaw “the trafficking of several hundred pounds of marijuana in and around the Baltimore Metropolitan area.”
McDaniel’s dope-delivery scandal is the second recent criminal probe involving USPS’ Waverly branch. Last year, branch manager Richard Lewis Wright III was charged in a bribery-and-kickback scheme involving janitorial and landscaping contracts, and has since pleaded guilty. His sentencing is scheduled for March.