Former postal employee pleads guilty to role in marijuana conspiracy

West Virginia

The United States Postal Service logo is seen on a mailbox outside a post office in Los Angeles, California, August 17, 2020. – The United States Postal Service is popularly known for delivering mail despite snow, rain or heat, but it faces a new foe in President Donald Trump. Ahead of the November 3 elections in which millions of voters are expected to cast ballots by mail due to the coronavirus, Trump has leveled an unprecedented attack at the USPS, opposing efforts to give the cash-strapped agency more money as part of a big new virus-related stimulus package, even as changes there have caused delays in mail delivery. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – United States Attorney Mike Stuart announced today that a former postal employee who participated in a scheme to ship and distribute marijuana which was mailed from California to Huntington pled guilty in federal court.  Carl Andrew Varnum, 49, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute marijuana. 

“16 pounds of marijuana delivered through the U.S. Mail. Varnum was a postal employee that was using the U.S. mail to facilitate marijuana trafficking,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “This prosecution should be a reminder to all that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.”   

Varnum admitted that, between 2015 and March of 2018, he conspired with others to distribute marijuana in the Huntington area.  During the conspiracy, marijuana was frequently shipped through the United States mail from California to Huntington.  Varnum, who was a U.S. Postal employee at the time, recruited a letter carrier also employed with the postal service, to receive and deliver the parcels.  Once the parcels containing marijuana arrived in Huntington, the carrier delivered the parcels on his assigned delivery route. 

On March 15, 2018, agents located two parcels at the Huntington Post Office which had been mailed from California to Huntington and were found to contain marijuana.  Agents conducting surveillance observed the carrier load the parcels into a postal delivery truck and drive to the Dollar General store located in the 800 block of Norway Avenue in Huntington.  At that location, the carrier provided the marijuana to another individual who arrived in a separate vehicle.  A trooper with the West Virginia State Police subsequently conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and recovered the parcels which contained approximately 16 pounds of marijuana. 

Varnum faces up to 5 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on January 25, 2021. 

The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the West Virginia State Police and the Violent Crime and Drug Task Force West conducted the investigation.   United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing.  Assistant United States Attorney Joseph F. Adams is handling the prosecution.

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