Smugglers Turning to Snail Mail to Ship Drugs

Amount of drugs intercepted through mail increasing in Florida

The U.S. Postal Service is quickly becoming a preferred method of shipping drugs to South Florida, as traffickers would rather pay for postage than risk their lives moving marijuana and cocaine.

Authorities say more drugs are being intercepted through the mail in the Sunshine State than in recent years as drug runners look for easier ways to get their good across the Mexican border.

"As the Border Patrol increases security on the border, it leads to smugglers using different tactics," Miramar-based Postal Inspector Blad Rojo told the Sun-Sentinel. "You know you can put it in the mail and it's going to get there. But we don't want the criminals to exploit the efficiency of our postal services."

While the amount of drugs confiscated through the mail has been dropping steadily in the last few years nationally, the amounts have been increasing in Florida.

Already 3,368 pounds of marijuana have been intercepted through June of this year, compared with 2,789 pounds last year and 2,158 pounds in 2009.

Some 44 pounds of cocaine have been intercepted in Florida through June, compared with 37 pounds in both 2009 and 2010.

Drug shipments sent through the mail generally have between 20-30 pounds of marijuana or a kilo or two of cocaine. Companies like FedEx and UPS said they have security programs in place to try to stop the flow, but keep most of their methods a secret.

"We do a good job identifying suspicious packages," FedEx spokesman Jim McCluskey said.

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