USPS carrier from New York charged with drug distribution for allegedly delivering more than mail

A New York City mailman has been accused of drug distribution after a probe was said to have found multiple instances of cocaine delivery along his route valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court, 35-year-old letter carrier Zarwardy Lewis was charged with drug distribution in connection with a probe conducted by the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). According to court documents, Special Agent Kyle Knieste testified on behalf of the agency that that in December, no fewer than three packages of cocaine had been allegedly delivered by Lewis to addresses around the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, which he received electronic payments for completing.

As reported by the New York Post, Lewis, a USPS carrier since 2013, was said to become central to the OIG’s investigation “after authorities searched a package originating from the Caribbean destined for Bedford-Stuyvesant and found that it contained about two kilograms of cocaine.”

That single package was said to hold a street value of around $60,000 and “was one of three parcels investigators tracked that came from the same sender, all with delivery addresses around Bed-Stuy, and Lewis delivered the other two packages while working his route.”

Court documents indicated that each delivery left the postal worker awarded with $500 from a woman identified as Evangeline Nery. They also indicated that OIG surveillance observed Lewis “making another alleged cocaine drop from his mail truck at Atlantic Terminal mall in Fort Green one Jan. 26.”

It was during that incident that 45-year-old Nery was said to have been witnessed turning an empty plastic bag over to Lewis before briefly entering the mall. Upon her exit, the woman returned the once-empty bag that now appeared to have a “large brick-like object in it.”

When investigators searched Nery’s bag, they discovered a kilogram of cocaine. A search of her cellphone produced messages with “pictures, postal receipts, and packages like the ones Lewis had been delivering,” the special agent told the court.

Both Lewis and Nery were arrested and the former admitted to receiving the $500 payments per package after they were each charged with cocaine distribution.

A day after his arrest, Lewis was released on a $100,000 bond and court records indicated Nery was released on a $50,000 bond. Their arrests followed the conviction of 36-year-old Billy Ortega Monday who was connected to a “DoorDash-like drug service” from which fentanyl-laced cocaine was delivered to three separate individuals on March 17, 2021, leading to their deaths from overdoses the same day.

He was convicted of one count of narcotics conspiracy resulting in death, three counts of narcotics distribution resulting in death pertaining to first-year lawyer Julia Ghahramani, social worker Amanda Scher and trader Ross Mtangi.

Additionally, Ortega was hit with one count of use and carrying a firearm in furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy. He faces a minimum sentence of 25 years and up to life in prison.

As for Lewis and Nery, his attorney, Matthew Galluzo declined to comment to the Post and she reportedly could not be reached.


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