Two U.S. Postal Service employees are facing federal charges of stealing narcotics from packages at a mail center at O’Hare International Airport.
Chicago residents Aramis Brown and Zaphronsia Wheeler worked together in the International Service Center at the airport, and stole from at least 16 packages on seven different occasions, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Investigators saw Brown rifle through packages at work, and later found that the tape had been cut and resealed, according to affidavits filed in U.S. District Court. Both packages contained marijuana and weighed less than the mailing label indicated.
After they were arrested early Wednesday, both Brown and Wheeler confessed, the affidavit said. Wheeler told authorities he would mis-sort packages on purpose, and that Brown would open them and steal the contents.
According to the affidavit, Wheeler told authorities he left an empty backpack in the employee locker room, and if it was full by the end of his shift, he knew Brown had taken drugs from packages.
Wheeler said he made more than $13,000 selling narcotics the pair had stolen from the mail, the affidavit said. Brown allegedly admitted to rifling through mail since early 2015, and opening packages based on the smell and listed addresses.
The criminal complaints against Brown, 29, and Wheeler, 39, were unsealed Wednesday after they appeared in court before Magistrate Judge Michael Mason, the statement said. Both have been released on a $4,500 bond.
They are both charged with mail theft and narcotics offenses, the statement said. They face a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 fine if convicted.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.