A former U.S. Postal Service worker’s guilty plea to stealing mail and drug trafficking resulted in a nine-year federal prison sentence Monday, according to federal prosecutors.
In a Tuesday statement, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler’s office says Judge Sharon Gleason sentenced 53-year-old Wasilla woman Brenda Sue Cox in U.S. District Court on charges involving drug conspiracy and possessing stolen mail. Cox will also pay $1,949.92 in restitution to the rightful owners of mail she possessed when she was arrested.
“(Cox) previously pled guilty to conspiring with others to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine and heroin,” federal prosecutors wrote. “Cox, a former contract employee with the United States Postal Service, also admitted to being in possession of mail that she had removed from her postal route.”
At Cox’s sentencing, Gleason explained her reasons for the duration of the prison term.
“Judge Gleason noted that Cox’s drug trafficking appeared to be motivated by greed and stressed that she found the nature and circumstances of Cox’s offenses troubling,” prosecutors wrote. “Judge Gleason also emphasized the need for deterrence in these types of cases.”
According to Loeffler’s office both the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Alaska State Troopers played roles in investigating the case.
Bradley Kleinknecht, inspector in charge of the USPIS’s Seattle Division, says in the statement that Cox’s sentence upholds the integrity of the U.S. mail, while ensuring that mail is “no safe haven” for illegal drugs.
“This sentence sends a strong message to anyone who misuses the United States mail in any way; you will be caught and you will be prosecuted,” Kleinknecht said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Courter, who prosecuted the case, says Cox worked as a contract carrier on a Wasilla postal route, stealing mail prior to her arrest in October 2012.
Courter says the case was hard to prosecute, given ongoing elements against the other people involved in the drug conspiracy, and its two-pronged nature.
"Obviously there was the drug side of the case, which was egregious in its own right," Courter said. "But there was also the stolen mail, which to the community was the breach of the public trust."