Nov 27, 2019

UPS employees allegedly shipped drugs from Mexico in decade-long scheme

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A group of United Parcel Service employees in Tucson, Arizona, reportedly helped import "thousands of pounds of marijuana and narcotics" from Mexican drug traffickers into the U.S. per week at the peak of its 10-year operation, the Washington Post reports.

Details: "Narco-traffickers" packed cardboard boxes with the drugs, and UPS employees helped move them through the carrier's delivery system, officials told the Post. Among the shipments were black market vaping products that have been linked to thousands of illnesses and dozens of deaths. The investigation involved cooperation from federal, state and local officials.

  • Tucson Police Sgt. William Kaderly told the Post that investigators were "frustrated" that UPS was not more proactive in its efforts to stop the illicit activity that officials suspected.
  • The alleged ringleader Mario Barcelo, who was a 20-year veteran at UPS, ensured drug shipments bypassed security and were delivered to their intended locations.

Where it stands: Four UPS employees were charged in state court, and court records indicate that 11 people, including two supervisors, have been arrested in the last two weeks, according to the Post.

  • Investigators fear Barcelo's tactics for routing the packages and hiding the origin and destination of the shipments could be replicated by other UPS employees or people working for similar delivery systems, the Post reports.

What they're saying: UPS in a statement said the company cannot discuss the arrests, as the investigation is ongoing, but it is cooperating with officials in the probe.

Go deeper: Trump vows to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations

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Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.

Teenager killed after shots fired at protesters in Detroit

Detroit police during protests on Friday night. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

A 19-year-old man was killed on Friday night after shots were fired into a crowd of demonstrators in downtown Detroit who were protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, per AP.

Details: The teenager was injured when shots were fired from an SUV about 11:30 p.m. and later died in hospital, reports MDN reports, which noted police were still looking for a suspect. Police said officers were not involved in the shooting, according to AP.

Go deeper: In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.