SPOKANE, Wash. - A damaged package discovered by workers at a Spokane Fed Ex shipping facility led to them stumbling into an interstate drug-smuggling operation that delivered hundreds of illegal painkillers to the Inland Northwest from Nevada.
FedEx doesn't like delivering boxes that have been torn up during shipping and so when a conveyor belt broke open a parcel, a clerk inspected the package for damage.
"A lot of times they'll fix the package per their policy and while grabbing the pills to inspect it they discovered ... illegal pills and so they called the DEA here in Spokane," Spokane police Lt. Steve Wohl said.
The Drug Enforcement Agency agents who went to the Havana St. FedEx station found 120 pills packaged in cellophane to be oxycodone and seized them.
Spokane Police started working the intended address near the intersection of Everett Avenue and Division Street and found that rental unit was already on the their oxycodone radar. Meanwhile, Aaron Carr, the young man the package was addressed to, or one of his associates on his behalf, called FedEx and asked when the box was going to be delivered.
That's when a DEA agent borrowed a FedEx uniform, posed as the delivery guy and as soon as the box was signed for, police executed their search warrant arresting Carr on a drug charge.
"We took the stance that we were going to be proactive and place one our agents in the uniform and send them in so that we had control of that situation and not utilizing any of their help for that," Wohl said.
Carr was supposed to be arraigned Monday but charges haven't been filed because this is an ongoing investigation that could stretch to Las Vegas. A search of the residence where Carr was arrested turned up several other FedEx packages from Las Vegas and so investigators don't think this is the first time oxycodone has been shipped to our area.
Spokane police are happy with Fed Ex for disrupting a drug pipeline.
"If that's going to stop someone from victimizing you or me or somebody else by stealing their property to feed their habit, we're happy to jump on board and partner with them to get that done," Wohl said.
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