The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia announced that convicted cocaine trafficker from Alexandria was sentenced to six years in prison for shipping cocaine across the United States for several years. The man, according to court documents, shipped cocaine to buyers across the United States who then sold the drugs to their own customers. He had also, in 2015, distributed the drug locally and to buyers in person throughout the state of Virginia.
According to the announcement, David T. Coffey, 26, shipped up to 15 kilograms of cocaine to buyers using the United States Postal Service (USPS). A supplier in Texas had allegedly been providing Coffey with cocaine. The inspector in charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Eric Shen, also made an announcement following Coffey’s sentence announcement. As with the majority of cases where darknet vendors and other drug dealers used the Postal Service for distribution, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) played an essential role in Coffey’s arrest.
In addition to the USPIS Inspector in Charge, the Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Division (DEA), Scott W. Hoernke, joined the Eastern District of Virginia’s U.S. Attorney for the announcement. A special agent wrote the affidavit in support of Coffey’s arrest. In the affidavit and criminal complaint, the DEA Special Agent explained how USPIS Inspectors in Texas launched the investigation after intercepting two suspicious packages.
In a Texas USPS Processing and Distribution Center, the USPIS flagged two inbound USPS Priority Express (overnight) packages as suspicious for one reason: someone had shipped the packages from the same Post Office in Virginia at the same time yet had used different names for the return addresses on each package. Both packages were headed for the same address in Texas and came from the same post office. The tracking on the packages indicated the shipper had dropped the packages off together. And the return addresses were identical. Except the name “Michelle Silva” had mailed one package where as “Michelle Smith” mailed the second package.
After obtaining a search warrant from a federal judge, the Postal Inspectors opened the packages and discovered $35,000 in cash. They “documented the contents of the parcels; returned the contents to the parcels in their original state; re-sealed the packages so as to appear they had not been opened; and returned the packages to the mail stream,” court documents revealed.
From 2015 through 2017, USPIS intercepted dozens of packages connected to Coffey and numerous co-conspirators that avoided arrest by declining to accept packages delivered by undercover USPIS Inspectors. After one final seizure of almost two pounds of cocaine, the DEA executed a search warrant at Coffey’s address. They found more cocaine at his house and arrested him on the spot. He waived his Miranda rights and told the police that he had no idea what the package contained.
As the DEA arrested Coffey, he said, “I can’t believe I did this [shit] again.” He later pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution charges and accepted his fate: six years in federal prison.