ATLANTA — A former Georgia postal worker has pleaded guilty to trying to send drugs in the mail while he was on disability.
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Robert Elliott Sheppard, 60, of East Point is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and unlawfully using the mail to commit that crime.
Sheppard worked as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in 2014. According to the Department of Justice, he delivered 5-pound packages of drugs through the U.S. mail to 60-year-old Dexter Frazier of Fairburn, a drug trafficker who sold cocaine and marijuana.
In 2016, Frazier spoke with Sheppard about delivering additional drug packages. According to the release, Sheppard was on disability and wasn’t able to block and deliver packages. Sheppard offered to get other mail carriers to deliver drugs for Frazier if he paid Sheppard referral fees comprised of cash and marijuana. Frazier agreed.
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In the report, Sheppard contacted two coworkers, Tonie Harris, 59, of Decatur and Clifton Lee, 46, of Lithonia. Sheppard told Harris and Lee that in order to get paid, Frazier needed them to deliver drug packages. Sheppard taught Harris and Lee how to position the deliveries to avoid detection. Harris and Lee agreed to take part in the scheme, and Sheppard gave their phone number to Frazier. Frazier then coordinated the illegal deliveries with Harris and Lee. Harris and Lee each delivered three packages for Frazier. They contained 2 kilograms of cocaine or 10 pounds of marijuana, the release states.
“Postal carriers occupy a position of trust in our communities and Sheppard violated that trust by exploiting his role as a mail carrier to traffic kilogram amounts of cocaine as well as marijuana,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Sheppard’s conduct is especially egregious because he recruited other postal carriers to participate in his criminal scheme once he was on disability leave. His conduct and greed potentially exposed countless innocent postal workers and the public to dangerous drugs and to the violence that these crimes frequently cause.”
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Other participants in the scheme previously pleaded guilty.
Frazier was sentenced to nine years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,700.
Lee was sentenced to three years, 10 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,800.
Harris was sentenced to three years, one month in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,450.
Harris and Lee both worked for the Sandy Springs Post Office.
“Sheppard enlisted the help of two co-workers to smuggle drugs through the United States postal system, entangling them in a drug conspiracy and furthering dangerous criminal activity. It is now Sheppard’s time to be held accountable for his selfish actions,” said DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston.
Sheppard’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3.
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