Florida Postal Worker Indicted for Trafficking in Cocaine
United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida announces the return of an indictment charging Florida woman and USPS mail carrier Natasha Prieto, 33, along with her boyfriend Angel Hernandez Coss, 37, both of Bradenton with conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine.
In June, U.S. Postal Inspectors identified some suspicious packages sent from Puerto Rico to Lakewood Ranch believed to be narcotics on Prieto’s mail route.
According to the returned indictment, the trafficking was accomplished by Prieto providing addresses on her postal route to Coss, who arranged for the shipment of packages containing cocaine from Puerto Rico to those addresses. Instead of delivering the packages, Prieto removed the packages from the U.S. mail system so that the drugs could be distributed by Coss. In August 2022, the investigation resulted in the seizure, from Prieto, of packages shipped from Puerto Rico containing kilograms of cocaine.
Lakewood Ranch mail carrier, boyfriend accused of using USPS to traffic cocaine from Puerto Ricohttps://t.co/orfzuaWK0S
— VCP Newz (@VCPNewz) October 11, 2022
Lakewood Ranch mail carrier, boyfriend accused of using USPS to traffic cocaine from Puerto Rico https://t.co/Z8Ybuyc8xp
— Bradenton Herald (@bradentonherald) October 12, 2022
Florida mail carrier, boyfriend accused of using Postal Service to traffic cocaine https://t.co/XHXcQiWyMU
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) October 12, 2022
Agents followed Prieto as she was scheduled to deliver four of the suspect packages. Each time, after the package was logged as delivered in the USPS system, investigators did not find the packages where they were supposed to have been delivered. Instead of delivering the packages to the listed address, Prieto would take them back to the Lakewood Ranch post office located at 5910 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, and put them inside her personal vehicle and later take them home.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
The Department of Justice reminder that an indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
If convicted on all counts, each faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in federal prison.
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