A U.S. Postal Carrier who delivered both the mail and some marijuana on his route in West Baltimore is now facing up to 40 years in prison. Over the course of several months, federal investigators built a drug distribution case against William McRae and his accomplice, Michael Gray. Police arrested the pair In October 2018, and both have pled guilty to the charges against them. McRae’s sentencing hearing will take place mid-July. Gray, who faces a maximum 20 year sentence, will be sentenced in September.
The case highlights Baltimore’s efforts to reduce the criminalization of cannabis. But because this is a federal case, a Baltimore state’s attorney policy to end the prosecution of marijuana charges won’t apply.
Mailman and Accomplice Face 60 Years in Prison for Dealing Weed
William McRae, a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, was in charge of Postal Route C-032. According to sources, the route runs from Fulton to Poppleton Streets in West Baltimore. And according to federal investigators, it’s the route on which McRae and an accomplice would distribute marijuana.
For nearly a year, federal investigators built a drug distribution case against McRae. In total, federal agents say they watched McRae deliver over 100 kilograms of marijuana on his route. The case began when investigators say they spotted McRae handing a package to an accomplice, Michael Gray, as McRae completed his mail delivery route in January 2018. Ten months later, surveillance cameras caught McRae giving another package to Gray. When the feds moved in to arrest the two men, they discovered the package contained two kilograms of cannabis buds.
According to investigators, several packages had been addressed to apartments across from the Hollins Market in West Baltimore. For delivering the packages, investigators say McRae received payment in cash and cannabis.
Upon learning of their letter carrier’s conviction for drug distribution, neighborhood residents along McRae’s route were shocked. “I’m just shocked. I meant, that’s—I know the US mail was doing bad, but I didn’t know it was doing that bad,” said Southwest Baltimore resident Tony Stevens.
And while some residents found the situation “deplorable,” calling for a full investigation of the local Post Office, others took a more humorous view. “He didn’t drop any at my house, and I don’t know why,” said local resident Jimmie Carter. “I mean, c’mon, that’s not right.”
Feds Bust Mailman as Baltimore Moves to Decriminalize Marijuana
Baltimore’s black and Latinx communities have long born the brunt of Maryland’s war on drugs. But Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who took office in 2015, has been trying to change that. In January 2019, Mosby made headlines when she announced a “monumental shift” in public policy as it relates to marijuana possession in the city of Baltimore. In addition to dropping pending marijuana cases and prioritizing divergence over incarceration, Mosby submitted a plea to drop nearly 5000 marijuana convictions dating back to 2011. But in April, Baltimore District and Circuit court judges denied Mosby’s request.
In Baltimore, black residents are six times more likely than white residents to face arrest for possession of cannabis. To attempt to address this racial disparity, Mosby announced that Baltimore state’s attorneys would no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases, regardless of the weight of cannabis or the suspect’s criminal history.
Mosby also announced a policy shift regarding marijuana distribution offenses. She established a policy to prosecute suspects for possession with intent to distribute only if those charges had articulated evidence of intent to sell or distribute backing them up. It’s unclear whether McRae or Gray’s distribution offenses would have fallen under this policy.
But because McRae and Gray were caught in a federal investigation, working for a federal agency (USPS), Mosby’s “Justice Over Convictions” policies don’t apply.