OAKLAND – Federal authorities announced Tuesday several people have been arrested in connection with postal crimes, including assaults on postal workers, mail truck break-ins and mail theft.
Northern California U.S. Ismail Ramsey and U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Rafael Nunez announced the arrests of 10 suspects at a news conference in Oakland on Tuesday.
“The penalties for these crimes can be sobering,” Ramsey said.
Officials noted that each suspect is facing potential prison sentences of a decade or more.
Ramsey said most of the cases involved the theft of postal keys that often grant access to large mailboxes and storage facilities. At Tuesday’s briefing, he focused on three suspects in particular.
Anthony Medina, a 42-year-old from American Canyon, was arrested for allegedly possessing seven postal keys. According to the criminal complaint, Medina fled from San Francisco police officers during an attempted traffic stop before he was arrested.
Along with the keys, Medina allegedly possessed credit cards belonging to other people, images of suspected stolen mail and access codes for an apartment complex in San Francisco. Medina has been charged with unlawful possession of postal keys and faces possible prosecution for unlawful possession of mail and credit cards.
Another suspect, 19-year-old Robert Devon Nicholson Bell Jr. of Antioch, is accused of two armed robberies targeting letter carriers, one in Antioch and one in San Francisco. Prosecutors said he also used mail keys to steal mail from U.S. Postal Service blue mailboxes.
Bell was arrested in Antioch and was allegedly found with postal keys, stolen mail, a fraudulent USPS id with his picture, along with stolen and counterfeit checks. He faces up to 10 years in prison for possessing mail keys and 25 years for the armed robberies, according to prosecutors.
A third suspect, 33-year-old Derek Hopson of Oakland, is accused of stealing mail and postal keys in two incidents this past June.
Prosecutors said San Francisco police responding to a burglary in progress found Hopson with several postal keys. Hopson is also alleged to have used a mailbox key to access mailboxes at a residential complex at the Presidio of San Francisco.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Nunez announced that the reward leading to additional arrests and convictions is $150,000.
“There is no more important mission for us as federal agents than protecting postal workers from crime and violence,” he said. “To any copycats or wannabes out there who might consider robbing a postal worker, I ask you to consider the years you will face in federal prison, the price on your head, and that postal inspectors will not stop hunting you.”