For ten years, up to 11 UPS employees allegedly managed to run a drug delivery operation in which they were involved in importing and trafficking massive amounts of drugs and counterfeit vaping oils from Mexico to the U.S. in standard UPS cardboard boxes and delivery trucks. Four employees have already been charged with drug trafficking in state court, but at least 11 people have been arrested in connection with the case. The investigation took several years to complete as investigators had to gain enough evidence. Undercover cops posed as drug smugglers and put GPS trackers inside the boxes filled with drugs so that they could follow the packages’ movement from the employees’ homes to the ultimate destination. They also tapped the UPS employees phones and found evidence of the group coordinating their operation through WhatsApp.
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The reported ring leader, 49-year-old Mario Barcelo, had been an employee at UPS for 20 years. He and his cohorts managed to succeed in their endeavours because they, according to the Washington Post, “used a simple method to obscure the origin and destination of drug shipments” which investigators worry could be used by other UPS workers to get away with similar crimes. Marcelo was able to ensure drug shipments were loaded onto the correct trucks and were delivered on time to their destinations with no issues, “bypassing security measures the employees knew well.” The alleged smugglers used their profits from the operation to buy “opulent homes, vacations, properties and luxury vehicles.” UPS is cooperating with law enforcement officials but is “not at liberty to discuss the details of the arrests as this is an ongoing investigation,” according to a statement made by the company.