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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

Go deeper

Biden signals openness to ending filibuster for voting rights legislation

President Biden participates in a CNN town hall at Baltimore Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday at a CNN town hall he'd be willing to consider doing away with the filibuster in the Senate in a bid to protect voting rights and "and maybe more."

Why it matters: With an evenly split Senate, legislation requires at least 10 Republican votes making it highly unlikely any new voting rights bill would pass with the filibuster in tact.

10 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

10 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.