Behind the scenes: Tracking down drugs in the mail by Zip code

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sending illegal drugs through the mail is a felony, yet 9 Investigates discovered pounds of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and fentanyl all moving through the U.S. Postal Service from across the globe, bound for Central Florida.


“Well, that’s why we are the frontline because we are finding things, not just stopping,” said Alain Rodriguez from his sprawling Customs and Border Protection search facility in Miami.

On the rainy South Florida day that we visited Rodriguez, his team including one K-9 were sifting through international mail as it came into the country, pulling some packages aside and finding everything from Viagra to horse tranquilizer.

Read: Prosecutors: USPS manager ran drugs through the mail

“It is concerning ... concerning for the safety of our employees, our safety, and the safety of the public,” Rodriguez said. “Our job is to actually find it, and then we roll all that information through the authorities, you know, that in the area are partners, that way they can actually create some type of operations.”

In April, federal agents traced one of these packages filled with cocaine that had been shipped from Puerto Rico to a community mailbox in Osceola County. At the mailbox, agents arrested a 29-year-old man, charging him with possession with intent to distribute.

Read: Man accused of accepting package of cocaine to distribute in Central Florida

“We do see a lot of activity in Florida, and for that reason, it’s probably where we have the most task force officers,” said Daniel Adame of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “I think drug cartels now have sprouted in a lot of areas that you would traditionally not see them.”

From October 2022 to April of this year, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service seized more than 3,200 pounds of methamphetamine, 3,500 pounds of cocaine, and 2,200 pounds of syenitic opioids across the country.

Read: Man, 19, accused of stealing mail using key stolen from Central Florida mail carrier

In Central Florida, the cocaine, meth, heroin, marijuana and fentanyl were bound for south and east Orange County (Zip codes: 32807, 32822, 32825, 32824, 32839).

The Buena Ventura Lakes and Campbell neighborhoods in Kissimmee (Zip codes: 34741, 34743, 34744, 34746) were also on the list, as well as Palm Bay (32908, 32909), Deltona (32725), and Clermont (34714).

“It’s working its way into every single community, regardless of demographics, socioeconomic status,” said Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma.

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