NORFOLK (AP) A Norfolk mail carrier has been charged with diverting packages filled with marijuana to a drug dealer in exchange for bribes, according to court documents.
Gary Kent Turner Jr. was charged with bribery of a public official, according to a criminal complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The crime carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Turner was arrested May 24 and released on a personal recognizance bond. His attorney, James Broccoletti, declined to comment on the charges.
Investigators with the United States Postal Service and the Office of the Inspector General noticed in 2019 that suspected drug packages were being sent to addresses on Turner’s delivery route, which includes the Ghent area of Norfolk, according to an affidavit.
Investigators installed hidden cameras in Turner’s postal vehicle and obtained footage from a surveillance camera at the first stop on Turner’s route. The affidavit states that the footage shows Turner meeting about 15 times with a man identified in court documents as M.C. from Portsmouth. Turner is seen giving packages to M.C., who then gives Turner an envelope of cash, the affidavit said. Turner often is recorded counting the money and putting it in his pocket.
Investigators seized one package destined for Turner’s route and found 3½ pounds of marijuana, the affidavit said. When M.C. was arrested a few weeks later, they found three pounds of marijuana in a package he just received from Turner.
When investigators confronted Turner, he admitted to being paid to deliver the packages, but claimed it was only “a few dollars to buy himself a meal,” the affidavit said. Turner was suspended immediately.