Former USPS mail carrier sentenced for scheme to deliver drugs through mail


Former mail carrier Robert Elliot Sheppard has been sentenced to three years in prison for recruiting fellow mail carriers and teaching them how to deliver packages of cocaine and marijuana while he was on disability leave. Sheppard accepted bribes from a drug trafficker to hand-deliver packages of narcotics on his mail route and even found carriers to replace him in his absence to ensure that he continued to profit from these crimes. Sheppard's greed resulted in dangerous drugs going into the community and ensnared two of his coworkers in a scheme of drug trafficking and bribery, said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.

Sheppard put not only his future at risk, but the safety of residents on his routes in danger by agreeing to work with drug dealers, said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. Sheppard recklessly recruited two mail carriers to deliver packages of drugs and was paid for doing so. Through his actions, Sheppard endangered the communities he served and betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the USPS, said DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston.

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, in 2015, Sheppard worked as a U.S Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier. In exchange for receiving bribes, Sheppard used his position to deliver five-pound packages of drugs through the U.S. mail to Dexter Frazier, a local drug trafficker who sold cocaine and marijuana. In 2016, Frazier approached Sheppard about delivering additional drug packages. Sheppard was on disability leave from the USPS at that time and unable to intercept and deliver packages. But he offered to recruit other mail carriers to deliver drugs for Frazier in exchange for referral fees in the form of a mix of cash and marijuana. Frazier agreed to the arrangement.

Sheppard then contacted two coworkers, Tonie Harris and Clifton Lee. Sheppard explained to Harris and Lee that they could earn bribes for delivering packages of drugs along their mail routes, and taught them how to arrange the deliveries to avoid detection. Harris and Lee agreed to participate in the scheme, and Sheppard gave their phone numbers to Frazier. Frazier then coordinated the illegal deliveries with Harris and Lee. Harris and Lee each delivered three packages for Frazier believing they contained two kilograms of cocaine or 10 pounds of marijuana, per parcel.

U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones sentenced Robert Elliott Sheppard, 61, of East Point to three years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $30,000. Sheppard pleaded guilty to the offenses of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and unlawfully using the mail to commit that crime, on August 3, 2022.

Other participants in the scheme previously pleaded guilty and received the following sentences imposed by Judge Jones: Dexter Bernard Frazier, a/k/a "Dec," 60, of Fairburn was sentenced on June 13, 2018, to nine years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Clifton Curtis Lee, a/k/a "Cliff," 46, of Lithonia a letter carrier assigned to the Sandy Springs Post Office, was sentenced on June 18, 2018, to three years, 10 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Tonie Harris, 59, of Decatur, a letter carrier assigned to the Sandy Springs Post Office, was sentenced on Aug. 14, 2018, to three years, one month in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release.