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Buffalo postal carrier admits taking bribes to deliver marijuana from West Coast

As a mail carrier, Brianna Fugate delivered more than letters and packages.

She also handled marijuana from the West Coast.

Fugate, who worked out of the Central Park Post Office on Manhattan Avenue, pleaded guilty Thursday to three felony charges, including bribery and distribution of marijuana. She will face up to 30 months in prison when she is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

“Ms. Fugate was sworn to serve in her position as a United States postal carrier, and not as a drug facilitator,” Adam S. Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Buffalo, said in a statement Thursday.

Arrested last October, Fugate, 25, of Cheektowaga, was one of two letter carriers accused of providing addresses of unsuspecting citizens to a confidential police source posing as a drug dealer so that boxes of marijuana could be delivered here by mail.

The other carrier was Dennis M. Bernhard, 56, of Derby, a 16-year Postal Service veteran who worked out of the East Side Post Office on Broadway, near Fillmore Avenue. Bernhard pleaded guilty last month.

The FBI says the two carriers used addresses that were part of their regular mail delivery routes so that they could intercept the boxes of marijuana when they arrived in Buffalo and deliver them in person to the confidential source.

In return, Bernhard and Fugate were paid $200 or $300 a package, investigators say. Fugate and Bernhard were not accused of collaborating, but they both were accused of arranging their drug deals while on the job and in uniform.

Fugate’s conviction is the result of prosecution by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wei Xiang and an investigation by the FBI, the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security.