OMAHA, Neb. —It’s about to get even busier at the post office. Thousands of holiday packages are moving through the postal service and inspectors know some of them will contain pot.
“We’ve seen more marijuana packages lately because of the legalization in states such as Colorado,” said Dave Margritz, a U.S. Postal Service inspector.
Margritz is one of six inspectors focused on all of Nebraska and parts of Iowa. Pot carefully packed in cans of hominy, stuffed into power tool boxes and even hidden in juke boxes are called “marijuana mail.”
“We’ve seen anything from small usage amounts to 20, 30 pounds plus in a package,” said Margritz.
And there’s been an increase in the amount of packages — 9,000 of them nationwide which is a 20 percent over last year. Marijuana legislation is keeping postal inspectors busy.
“It’s a concern for us because federally it’s illegal to possess marijuana and to mail it. Even within a state such as Colorado, you can’t send it through the U.S. mail. Plus it puts our employees and neighbors at risk,” said Margritz.
“That involves us laying out our probable cause before a judge in order to get a warrant signed to open a package,” said Margritz.
Deputy Douglas County Attorney George Thompson said drug dealers like the odds. While one or two packages may be stopped, they know others will sail through.
“Whether it be 10, 20 or 50 percent of it picked off, they’re going to continue to do it just because they’re going to be making lots of money,” said Thompson.
Thompson said that costs everyone money. More trafficking of marijuana on Omaha streets means more crime, which is why law enforcement is determined to find as much marijuana mail as they can.
“You have to combat supply and demand. On the supply aspect of it, you can’t just throw your hands up and say, ‘We’re not going to do this because we can’t stop everything.’ Well, you can stop some of it,” said Thompson.
So the watch will continue as packages fly through the post office through the holidays and beyond.