Letter carrier accused of getting pot through the mail
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | February 12,2013
BENNINGTON — A part-time letter carrier for the post office in Bennington is facing a felony charge after an investigation by a postal inspector determined he had received more than a pound of marijuana in the mail from California in December.
Shea M. Mayhew, 26, of Bennington, pleaded innocent last week to a felony charge of possession of marijuana. He was released without bail.
In a report sent to Trooper Scott Dunlap, of the Vermont State Police, Postal Inspector Gene Griffin, who is based in Springfield, Mass., said he had spoken with another letter carrier, Trevor Currier, on Dec. 17. Currier said a few weeks prior to that date a package came through addressed to Mayhew’s home but “bearing a name (Currier) didn’t recognize.” Currier said he asked Mayhew about the package and noted that Mayhew “acted kind of flustered and scared and, at first, claimed he did not recognize the name.”
Currier said Mayhew later said someone from Colorado had moved to the home and offered to take the package but Currier said he would deliver it. Currier also noted that when he delivered the package, Mayhew’s car was at the home although Currier said he believed Mayhew was typically delivering the mail along his own route at that time.
According to Currier, he watched Mayhew bring the package inside.
On Dec. 17, there was a similar package from California. Griffin said that California was known to be a place from which packages of marijuana were illegally mailed.
Trooper Wayne Godfrey brought his canine officer, Tarawa, to the Bennington Police Station on Dec. 18. Among four “dummy” packages, Tarawa alerted police to the package addressed to Mayhew’s home, Griffin said.
After a search warrant was obtained, the package was opened and one pound, three ounces of marijuana was found inside, according to Griffin’s report.
The package was placed on Mayhew’s desk on Dec. 21 with a note that said it was addressed to his home and he could take it with him but would need to bring it to supervisors so they could scan it and mark it delivered. Griffin said this gave Mayhew the opportunity to “not take the package” and his supervisors were told he was not to be stopped if he left without it.
However, Griffin said Mayhew left the post office building with the package. He was stopped by police but refused to discuss the package.
Griffin’s report said his investigation found that Mayhew mailed a package, which he believed to be payment for the marijuana, to an address in California. Based on a note in the package sent to Mayhew in December and other evidence, Griffin said he believed the sender may be a woman that Griffin knows who lives in California but who had been charged with possession of marijuana in New Hampshire in 2009.
Thomas Rizzo, a postal service spokesman, said it was difficult to say exactly what would happen to an employee charged with a crime involving the use of the mail.
Rizzo said the government agency was “guided by our employee and labor manuals, which are derived from federal code and are applied on a case-by-case basis due to unique circumstances of each situation.”
Because of privacy guidelines, the postal service can’t comment on Mayhew, according to Rizzo.
While the case has elements of using the mail and moving drugs across state lines, Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage said the case had been brought to her office to prosecute. However, she said the U.S. attorney’s office could still choose to prosecute Mayhew as well.