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What Happens If UPS Finds Drugs In A Package?

What Happens If UPS Finds Drugs - What Happens If UPS Finds Drugs In A Package - Does UPS Scan Packages For Drugs

What happens if UPS finds drugs in your packages?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • penalties for receiving drugs
  • what happens when you ship weed, edibles, prescription drugs, etc?
  • will you get hit with federal drug trafficking charges?
  • how to know if your package has been seized
  • how the police will deliver your package if it’s been seized
  • do they need search warrants to bust you?

Let’s dig in.

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What Happens If UPS Finds Drugs In A Package?

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?

What Happens If UPS Finds Weed In The Mail?

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?

What Happens If You Get Caught Mailing Weed?

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:

  • marijuana trafficking
  • misuse of mail
  • mailing of injurious articles
  • conspiracy

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

Caught Shipping Edibles

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:

  • 42 g of weed is a felony
  • 4.25 g of edibles is a felony

This is the same across the board for weed laws.

Related: Is Weed Legal In Tennessee?

Penalties For Mailing Edibles

The penalties for mailing edibles, according to US Code 841 (Section D), are up to:

  • 5 years in prison
  • a $250,000 fine

Sending Concentrates In The Mail

The penalties for sending concentrates in the mail are up to:

  • 5 years in prison
  • a $250,000 fine

Can You Mail Weed Legally?

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 Weed In The Mail Punishment

Sending wee in the mail gets you drug trafficking charges.

Under federal laws, drug trafficking charges for mailing weed are up to:

  • 1,000+ kg (2,200 pounds of marijuana): 10 years – life in jail
  • 50 – 1,000 kg of marijuana: 5 – 40 years in jail
  • 50 kg or less of marijuana: 5 years in jail

What Is Drug Trafficking?

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.

Can I Get In Trouble If Someone Mailed Me Drugs?

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:

  • the package is in your name
  • the package is not in your name, but you accept the package

If someone mails you drugs and a law enforcement agency finds it, they will either:

  • seize it and have UPS send you a letter to come in to get the package
  • have a police officer do a controlled delivery of the contraband with a postal worker

What Is The Penalty For Receiving Drugs In The Mail?

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:

  • 1,000+ kg (2,200 pounds of marijuana): 10 years – life in jail
  • 50 – 1,000 kg of marijuana: 5 – 40 years in jail
  • 50 kg or less of marijuana: 5 years in jail

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.

Chances Of Getting Caught Mailing Weed

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:

  • package or envelope with suspicious leaks, stains, or powdered substances
  • the package is rigid, bulky, or has excessive tape or string
  • poor handwriting, misspellings, improperly addressed
  • excessive postage, no postage, or no/strange return address
  • ticking, vibration, abnormal sounds, strange odors
  • generic addressee and restrictive markings
  • unexpected and from someone unfamiliar
  • irregular placement of package or item

Can You Mail Prescription Drugs?

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.

Can You Ship Prescription Drugs Through UPS?

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.

Is It Illegal To Mail Prescription Drugs?

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.

Penalty For Mailing Prescription Drugs

The penalty for mailing prescription drugs is very heavy.

Under federal laws, drug trafficking charges for prescription drugs are up to:

  • 5 – 10 years in jail
  • $500,000 in fines

What Happens If UPS Finds Drugs In A Package?

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.

Does UPS X-ray Packages?

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.

Does UPS Scan Packages For Drugs?

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:

  • package or envelope with suspicious leaks, stains, or powdered substances
  • the package is rigid, bulky, or has excessive tape or string
  • poor handwriting, misspellings, improperly addressed
  • excessive postage, no postage, or no/strange return address
  • ticking, vibration, abnormal sounds, strange odors
  • generic addressee and restrictive markings
  • unexpected and from someone unfamiliar
  • irregular placement of package or item

If they see these issues, they will “intercept” the packages.

Then, they will physically and visually scan them.

How Do I Know If My Package Was Intercepted?

You will know if your package was intercepted if your UPS tracking says:

  • “held for mailability determination”
  • “Seized By Law Enforcement”

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

“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:

  • no oddly shaped packages in a paper envelop
  • no packages with leaking liquids
  • no aerosol cans getting shipped
  • no heavy tools in small, incorrect packages
  • types of tape getting used

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:

  • dispose of the package
  • send the package back to the sender

What Will Tracking Say If A Package Has Been Seized?

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.

UPS Tracking Seized By Law Enforcement

What happens when a drug package gets seized by law enforcement in UPS?

What To Do If Your UPS Package Is Seized By Law Enforcement?

There are two scenarios where your UPS package was seized by law enforcement.

  • you were mailing illegal substances through the United States Postal Service
  • you were NOT mailing illegal substances

Let’s say you sent cannabis through the U.S. mail and it was seized by law enforcement.

In this case:

  • do not go to UPS to pick up the package (even if they ask you to)
  • do not accept delivery attempts of this package
  • reach out to a defense attorney for a free consultation in case you get criminal charges

Let’s say that you were not mailing illegal substances.

In this case, you need to have your criminal defense attorney:

  1. File a Petition
  2. Investigate the case (for your defense)
  3. Settle negotiations with law enforcement agencies
  4. Defend you in a trial (if necessary)

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.

Will The Police Deliver The Seized UPS Package?

Yes, the police will deliver a seized UPS package.

This technique is called a “controlled delivery.”

This scenario is either:

  • policemen dressing up as a UPS driver and delivering it
  • law enforcement officers will arrest you when the UPS drivers deliver it

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.

What Happens If UPS Finds Drugs In A Package?

If you want the best criminal defense lawyers to represent you, fill out the form below.

We have the experience needed to ensure that your rights are protected.

Your criminal defense lawyer legally cannot break the attorney-client relationship.

You should tell them what happened and what is going on so they aren’t surprised.

And so that they can properly defend you and give you legal advice.

This means you don’t spend:

  • 10s of thousands more in fees than you have to
  • needless years in jail

After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.

Talk soon.

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