11 Held as Cocaine Pushers At Downtown Post Office
A dozen Terminal Annex Post Office employees were named as alleged cocaine pushers Thursday after what postal authorities said was a five-month investigation at the major mail-handling facility near downtown.
All but one had been arrested and booked by late afternoon.
Los Angeles Postmaster Charles W. King and Wilhelm J. Maisch, postal inspector in charge, announced the arrests at an afternoon press conference and said all were charged in warrants with sale of a controlled substance. Involved was cocaine in both powder and rock form, they said.
Forty postal inspectors and postal police officers took part in the arrests of garage men, mechanics, mail handlers, tool and parts clerks and a painter. One of the 12 was identified as a non-postal service parking lot attendant. Those arrested included one woman, officials said.
Postal inspector Robert L. Chavez said the amounts of cocaine involved ranged from a gram to more than 70 grams. He said there was no indication that any sort of major drug distribution ring was operating at Terminal Annex.
In a statement announcing the arrests, Maisch and King stressed their belief that drug abuse by postal employees “is considered no more prevalent than among the general population.” They pointed out that the 11 accused postal employees make up only about .003% of the approximately 4,000 who work at the Terminal Annex.
The investigation reportedly was aided by other employees who made undercover purchases from the suspects.
Officials said they also had assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department narcotics squad and from the Sheriff’s Department.
Last October, 14 postal employees and one non-employee were arrested at the Santa Ana General Mail Facility for allegedly selling cocaine, marijuana and other drugs on the premises. In that case, too, officials were quick to point out that the suspects made up a very small percentage of the 1,500 people who worked there.