Newark mailman convicted of conspiring to defraud country

NEWARK, NJ — A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier was convicted July 16 of conspiring to defraud the United States by getting paid to assist a drug dealer in receiving packages of marijuana through the mails, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Fred Rivers, 47, of Newark, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by interfering with and obstructing the lawful functions of the USPS to properly deliver only legal and permissible substances and materials through the mails, and for USPS employees to receive only lawful compensation. The jury deliberated for one day, following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court. The jury acquitted Rivers of one count of taking bribes.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial, Rivers was a mail carrier at the USPS Springfield Station in Newark. From October 2016 through September 2017, he accepted cash payments from Glenn Blackstone in exchange for intercepting packages containing pounds of marijuana that were sent through the mail. Rivers removed the packages — which were addressed to fake names, but real addresses in Newark — and delivered them to Blackstone in the employee parking lot of the Springfield Station. Rivers used a scanner to falsely indicate in USPS records that the packages had been delivered to the addresses on the labels. Rivers received cash payments of approximately $100 from Blackstone for each delivery. Rivers began delivering the intercepted parcels to Blackstone in exchange for cash after another mail carrier, Leonard Gresham, asked Rivers to make the deliveries when Gresham was unavailable to do so.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain from the offense. Rivers is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 29.

On Feb. 13, 2018, Gresham pleaded guilty to bribery for his role in the scheme; on April 17, 2018, Blackstone pleaded guilty to marijuana trafficking and bribery. Both are awaiting sentencing before Judge Salas.

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