When you picture a drug deal you might envision a bad part of town, in an alley, late at night so that nobody sees you while the deal is going down. Maybe I have watched too many movies . Perhaps drug deals are going on all around us, in broad daylight. Maybe even at our local post office?

This is the story of how one Upstate New York post office was allegedly used as a drug hub and nobody knew. Now 2 postal employees could be delivered to prison for up to 40 years.

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According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean C. Eldridge, the suspects in this case are postal employees Ralph Minni and Grace Lopez. They are accused of getting marijuana and cocaine through the mail and then redistributing the narcotics in the Rochester area.

According to a press release, an investigation was conducted by the FBI, United States Postal Service and New York State Police. What officials learned is that Branch Manager Minni would intercept the narcotics from the post office work floor, repackage the items and hand them off to Lopez for distribution.

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Officials arranged multiple "controlled purchases" of narcotics from Lopez, who admitted that she would get the drugs from Minni. Officers also witnessed, through video surveillance, Minni taking cocaine from his desk or pocket and giving it to another employee to snort on at least 3 occasions.

On Monday May 2nd, investigators observed Minni repeat the process of taking a package to his office, returning the original package to the mail stream and heading to his car. Once he drove away from the facility he was taken into custody.

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Officials searched Minni's office, his residence, and his vehicle. Investigators recovered approximately four pounds of marijuana, over $75,000 worth of narcotics, including THC, marijuana, and cocaine, 40 firearms, over 5,000 rounds of ammunition, and a bullet proof vest.

The 2 suspects had been working at the United States Postal Service, 1335 Jefferson Road in Rochester. Some of their charges include conspiring and attempting to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.

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