N.J. mail carrier arrested in drug trafficking bust allegedly had cocaine sent to addresses along her delivery route

RCMP Handout

A mail carrier in Seacaucus, N.J. and her boyfriend were charged yesterday with the distribution of 500 grams or more of cocaine, conspiracy and mail theft for allegedly intercepting packages of cocaine mailed from Puerto Rico to New Jersey as part of a drug trafficking ring, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

The criminal complaint alleges that U.S. Postal Service employee Christina Nunez, 30, had been receiving packages of cocaine mailed from Puerto Rico to delivery addresses along her mail route since October 2010 as part of an elaborate distribution scheme.

Each time a package was sent, Nunez allegedly took it into her possession before it reached its delivery address, scanned it as delivered mail and transported it to co-conspirators in Camden, N.J. The drug trafficking organization paid her $500 to $600 for each package she successfully recovered, according to the complaint.

Law enforcement officials allegedly seized more than two kilograms of cocaine during the one-and-a-half-year investigation. The first bust was on Feb. 1, 2011, when inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service seized 1,569 grams of cocaine from an express mail package sent from Puerto Rico that Nunez was supposed to deliver, according to the complaint.

Officials then noticed that Nunez had been supposedly delivering packages with similar weights and sequential tracking numbers sent from three locations in Puerto Rico to addresses along her route that were nonexistent, false or inaccurate since October of 2010, according to the complaint.

After the seizure, the drug trafficking organization allegedly stopped sending packages for about nine months, until December of 2011. At that time, investigators again noticed that similar packages from Puerto Rico were again arriving addressed to locations along Nunez’s delivery route. They said an examination of the packages revealed that the written names of their supposed recipients did not match the actual names associated with the delivery addresses.

Fishman said the investigation came together during a second seizure on Aug. 22, 2012, when officials in Kearny, N.J. recovered another suspicious package from Dorado, Puerto Rico and saw that the delivery address would again be assigned to Nunez’s mail route.

After a drug-sniffing dog indicated the presence of narcotics, officials seized the 600 grams of cocaine that was allegedly wrapped in plastic and buried in coffee inside the package, replaced it with a dummy product similar in appearance and placed it back into circulation for delivery. They equipped the package with a GPS tracker and set up a surveillance camera inside Nunez’s delivery car.

The complaint claims that Nunez failed to deliver the package to its assigned address on Aug. 24 and instead took it to her home in Lyndhurst, N.J. at the end of her shift. There, she was arrested along with boyfriend
Luis A. Vega, 36.

Further investigation allegedly revealed that both Nunez and Vega received additional packages of narcotics at their homes. Officials say Vega admitted that four or five such packages were mailed to his former residence in Jersey City between February of 2011 and May of 2012 and that he occasionally accompanied Nunez to drop off the drug-filled packages she received along her mail route to their co-conspirators in Camden.

An unknown number of packages were also allegedly mailed to Vega’s Lyndhurst residence between February and May of 2012, when she was on medical leave from the Postal Service.

Officials estimate that the couple and their co-conspirators distributed more than 18 kilograms of cocaine between October of 2010 and August of 2012. Nunez is set to appear in federal court in Newark today. Vega was in court yesterday.


After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.


'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.


At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…


Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.


Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.


Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.


Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…


Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)


Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)


Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…


Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…


What eye symptoms need emergency attention?

Many people experience temporary eye-related problems such as pink eye (conjunctivitis) from a cold virus or a scratched cornea resulting from an object coming into…