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Third postal carrier sentenced in marijuana distribution ring

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" keeps postal carriers from their appointed rounds.

But what about a pound of stolen marijuana?

When law enforcement agents arrested Briana Fugate, 27, for distributing the marijuana out of her mail truck while working her postal route in 2015, they also discovered more than 1,500 pieces of mail in her truck that had not been delivered, officials at the U.S Attorney's Office said.

Fugate, a resident of Cheektowaga, also accepted bribes to deliver what she believed were drug shipments from the West Coast, according to Wei Xiang, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case.

As Fugate learned to recognize drug parcels, she opened some of the packages, sold the contents and kept the money for herself, according to Xiang in the U.S Attorney's Office.

Fugate was on probation for a state larceny conviction during this conduct, officials said.

Fugate worked out of the Central Park Station Post Office, when she was arrested in an undercover sting, according to officials. Fugate was convicted of bribery, distribution of marijuana and delay of mail, officials said.

Fugate was sentenced on August 17 to 12 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

Two other postal carriers have also been convicted for their roles in the marijuana distribution ring.

Rudolph Dwight Hanchard, a Jamaican national, was convicted of bribing a public official and attempt to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, officials said. Hanchard was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Dennis Bernhard, a resident of Derby, was a mail carrier on Buffalo’s East Side for the last 10 of his 16 years with the postal service, was also convicted of bribery for helping drug dealers obtain marijuana through the mail, officials said.

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