BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WRBL) — One Georgia man, U.S. Postal Service worker faces time in federal prison after admitting to stealing marijuana from a package.
Howard Kerns, 53, of Dearing, Ga., was sentenced to two months in prison paired with two years of supervised release. This comes after Kerns pleaded guilty to Theft of Mail Matter by a Postal Employee.
Kerns was terminated from the U.S. Postal Service.
David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia shared this is a felony crime and spoke on the integrity lost in the U.S. mail system in a news release.
“The integrity of our U.S. Mail is dependent on the honesty of postal employees,” said Estes. “Howard Kerns is the rare exception of workers who fail that test, and is being held accountable for that failure.”
According to court documents, Kerns was working in the Brunswick, Ga., post office when a package was received and believed to have marijuana in it sometime in Aug. 2020.
After receiving the package, postal workers followed protocol and placed the package on the shelf in the postmaster’s office for an examination to be done by a postal inspector from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Postal management later discovered the package had been opened and resealed, and the contents were removed. It was reported to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General for further investigation.
After questioning, Kerns admitted stealing the marijuana from the package.
Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Ulrich, Southern Area Field Office spoke to the honesty of postal service employees in a news release.
“The vast majority of Postal Service employees are honest, hardworking individuals who would never violate the public trust,” said Ulrich. “An employee who decides otherwise will be aggressively investigated by USPS OIG special agents. This case serves as an excellent example of the successful partnership between the USPS-OIG and U.S. Attorney’s Office to pursue and prosecute employees involved in criminal activity.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and prosecuted for the United States by U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Bearden.