Those that traffic in controlled substances, particularly drugs like anabolic steroids have always tried to find different avenues and opportunities to transport the raw materials to themselves as well as the finished product to their customers – all without using the United States Postal Service to handle the heavy lifting.
Some use “mules”, some handle the distribution themselves, and others still – like Robert Dakake – try and find a novel way to get around using the traditional mail service. Like using UPS.
Dakake, 46 years old and living in New Jersey, was arrested on both possession of steroids and the trafficking of steroids charges in January 2019. This individual was caught red handed after he picked up a steroid filled postal package at a UPS Store, a package that had been delivered to a Private Mailbox that he had opened this UPS facility specifically for this purpose.
Local police officers received a tip from the US Customs Agency after they had uncovered in inbound package that contained illegal and elicit anabolic steroids. The delivery in question was flagged upon its arrival at the customs checkpoint, the information forwarded to local police and the FBI, and allowed to continue on to the private mailbox address at this UPS Store to see who was going to pick it up.
Local police established surveillance at the UPS Mail Box location and as soon as Mr. Dakake arrived up to pick up his package police officers moved in and arrested him on the spot.
The box itself contained a variety of different steroid powders, raw materials that could later be turned into injectable steroids solutions or indigestible steroid pills. The entire weight of this raw powder came to just over 2.5 pounds – and photographic evidence taken at the scene shows a half a dozen different Ziploc bags containing a variety of different steroid powders.
According to investigators, Dakake was already under surveillance by the local police department for potentially running and elicit steroid distribution network. The police believed that he was working to conduct an underground laboratory that brought in raw steroid powder and produced steroid products, selling these products through a local distribution network of fitness coaches, personal trainers, and amateur bodybuilders.
While local police admitted that Private Mail Boxes do offer an extra layer of security and safety for those that want to traffic in these kinds of materials and drugs, they don’t provide any anonymity or any protection to individuals that are already under investigation.
When US Customs flagged the box for the anabolic steroids contained within the Private Mail Box address was immediately uploaded into a national system designed to curtail drug trafficking, and local police were immediately tipped off that they are already under surveillance suspect was about to have a package of drugs delivered directly to him.
It didn’t take a lot of old-fashioned police work to connect the dots, particularly since the mailbox had been registered to Mr. Dakake himself and paid for with a credit card also in his name. Surveillance records provided by the UPS Store itself also showed Mr. Dakake arriving to sign up for the mailbox, receiving shipments from that mailbox in the past, as well as documenting the entire takedown when local police moved in and arrested him for possession and trafficking of the package that had been flagged by customs.
Mr. Dakake has yet to see his day in court, but the evidence is almost overwhelmingly stacked against him. Situations similar to this in the past have resulted in defendants choosing to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence, but it’s impossible to know how this will shake out just yet.