What happens if UPS finds drugs in your packages?
In this article, you’ll learn about:
Let’s dig in.
When UPS finds drugs in a package, they will seize that package.
UPS can “intercept” a package that they feel is suspicious.
UPS reserves the right to open and inspect any package deemed suspicious.
UPS does not require a warrant to search a package for drugs.
(USPS requires a warrant based on probable cause to search a package for drugs.
But private companies like UPS, FedEx, and DHL can reserve the right to open packages.)
Once they have intercepted it, they will contact law enforcement to come to check it out.
Law enforcement won’t need to bring drug dogs to determine if UPS found drugs in a package.
This is because UPS can open the packages and do a “postal inspection service.”
Your tracking information will get updated to say which law enforcement agency seized it.
Note that it could say anything with a private carrier.
UPS drivers type in who signed for the package.
They can write things like, “seized,” “law enforcement,” “DEA,” “U.S. Customs (CBP),” etc.
It will only mention U.S. Customs if there is an importation and forfeiture of drugs.
Related: What States Is Weed Legal In?
UPS can legally open your package if they think they found weed in the mail.
The Fourth Amendment protects the rights of the people when you ship weed with USPS.
But, the Fourth Amendment does not protect you from UPS opening your package.
UPS reserves the right to open your package if it’s “suspicious.”
Related: Is Weed Legal In Florida?
When you get caught mailing weed, you are breaking federal laws.
If you get caught mailing weed, you will get up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
When you get caught mailing weed, the potential federal laws that you may break are:
A shipper can get considered a co-conspirator if they get caught mailing weed.
The UPS shipping company got conspiracy charges for facilitating the mailing of drugs.
Related: How Many People Are In Jail For Weed
If you are caught shipping edibles, you will get the same charges as if you’re shipping weed.
Penalties if you get caught shipping edibles are based on weight.
In most states, weed and edible penalties fall under different weights for penalties.
It generally takes a lot less weight for edibles to get felony charges at a state level.
For example, in North Carolina:
This is the same across the board for weed laws.
Related: Is Weed Legal In Tennessee?
The penalties for mailing edibles, according to US Code 841 (Section D), are up to:
The penalties for sending concentrates in the mail are up to:
No, you cannot mail weed legally.
UPS prohibits mailing weed legally.
And, it’s against state and federal laws.
Even if you live in a recreational marijuana state like California.
You will get charged with felony drug trafficking for mailing weed.
Sending wee in the mail gets you drug trafficking charges.
Under federal laws, drug trafficking charges for mailing weed are up to:
Drug trafficking is the selling, transporting, or importing of illegal drugs.
Drug trafficking is also considered the “distribution of controlled substances.”
Mailing any type of drug is drug trafficking.
Yes, you can get in trouble if someone mails you drugs.
You can get felony charges at the state level and federal levels for receiving drugs.
You can get in trouble if someone mails you drugs if:
If someone mails you drugs and a law enforcement agency finds it, they will either:
The penalty for receiving drugs in the mail is drug trafficking charges.
Let’s say you are receiving drugs in the mail from an “out-of-state” sender.
In this case, the drug packages DID cross state lines.
And both federal and state laws will apply to your drug trafficking charges.
Under federal laws, drug trafficking charges for marijuana are up to:
These will all be felony charges.
Let’s say you are receiving drugs in the mail from an “in-state” sender.
In this case, the drug packages did not cross state lines.
And only state laws will apply to your drug trafficking charges.
State-level laws depend on the state.
Check out marijuana legalities by the state to see your local weed laws.
Your chances of getting caught mailing weed depend on how well it’s packaged.
Everyone believes that they are the best at hiding the smell of weed.
You should assume that the chances of getting caught mailing weed are high.
Here are some things that UPS looks for:
Yes, you can mail prescription drugs.
But it is not legal to mail prescription drugs.
You will get charged with illicit drug trafficking of Schedule 3 or 4 narcotics.
No, you cannot ship prescription drugs through UPS.
Only Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered distributors can ship prescriptions.
Any individual shipping prescriptions will get charged with drug trafficking.
Yes, it is illegal to mail prescription drugs.
You are breaking state and federal laws when mailing prescription drugs.
You can get felonies for drug trafficking if you are mailing prescription drugs.
The penalty for mailing prescription drugs is very heavy.
Under federal laws, drug trafficking charges for prescription drugs are up to:
If UPS finds drugs in a package, they will pull it out of the mailing process.
Once they set it aside, they will inspect it or open the package at the UPS facility.
If there are drugs in the package, UPS will call a local law enforcement agency.
Yes, UPS does X-ray packages.
But, they only X-ray packages going into the Washington, D.C. area.
This is to avoid dangerous packages getting into government buildings.
UPS does scan your packages for drugs.
But, UPS does not scan your packages for drugs with a machine.
UPS DOES X-ray packages, but that’s only packages going into the Washington, D.C. area.
UPS will scan your packages for drugs visually.
UPS looks for irregular mail packages with issues like:
If they see these issues, they will “intercept” the packages.
Then, they will physically and visually scan them.
You will know if your package was intercepted if your UPS tracking says:
Either scenario means that your package was intercepted by the postal inspector.
They may have reached out to a law enforcement agency if you are shipping illegal items.
That law enforcement agency will be able to acquire a search warrant for your mail packages.
If you are not shipping illegal items, then it was “intercepted” for mailability determination.
“Held for mailability determination” means that UPS is holding your package.
Most likely, something was “off” with your package and they have set it aside.
UPS holds packages to general standards.
These general standards are things like:
What happens if your UPS tracking says “held for mailability determination?”
The post office’s postal inspector has set your package aside.
If they deem does not meet mailability standards, they will either:
Let’s say that your package has been seized by law enforcement.
Your UPS tracking will say “Seized By Law Enforcement.”
(Yes, they make it this obvious.)
UPS will send you a letter telling you that they couldn’t deliver your package.
And that if you want to come into the store to pick it up, feel free to do so.
DO NOT go into UPS to pick up seized drug packages from the U.S. Postal Service.
What happens when a drug package gets seized by law enforcement in UPS?
There are two scenarios where your UPS package was seized by law enforcement.
Let’s say you sent cannabis through the U.S. mail and it was seized by law enforcement.
In this case:
Let’s say that you were not mailing illegal substances.
In this case, you need to have your criminal defense attorney:
If a drug package was seized by law enforcement, fill out the form on this page.
Our criminal defense law firms can defend you against drug trafficking charges.
Yes, the police will deliver a seized UPS package.
This technique is called a “controlled delivery.”
This scenario is either:
Police use controlled deliveries to secure evidence against drug traffickers for federal court.
This will be your local law enforcement agency and the DEA (drug enforcement administration).
It’s both agencies because you’re mailing controlled substances through the postal service.
The postal service is a federal agency and you’re shipping drugs across state lines.
These automatically make mailing drugs in a package felony drug trafficking charges.
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