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Springfield Police to join U.S. Postal Service Inspection Task Force to crack down on illegally shipped narcotics

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield is getting a new task force to nab criminals who ship illegal goods by mail.

Police will be closely working with the United States Post Office.

”As long as there are bad guys out there we’re going to be continuing to be pursue these kinds of cases,” said Inspector Paul Shade with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

He says his agency teams up with law enforcement across the country.

”It’s great not only to establish the relationships with the different departments but it’s also great to have those extra set of eyes and ears out there to be able to help us be more effective at what we do,” he said.

Soon a Springfield Police officer will join the U.S. Postal Inspection Task Force.

Captain Tony Vienhage with the Springfield Police Department said, “One of our detectives who did some work with the postal service was seeing some increasing trends there and kind of suggested it.”

Authorities say would-be criminals shipping illegal goods isn’t a new problem.

”The mail system has been utilized. Everything from your mail fraud to include the shipment of illegal narcotics,” said Shade.

Authorities say committing these types of crimes is very serious. They’re often prosecuted in federal court.

In Springfield charges were filed earlier this month against a man accused of using the dark web and transporting his goods through the U.S. mail.

Court records say Andrew Mitchell’s home in north Springfield was raided last week a months long FBI investigation into illegal drug activity. Mitchell is accused of selling narcotics online and shipping them across the country. Authorities say they caught on after a suspicious package containing drugs was returned to the wrong address. They were able to tie it to Mitchell by identifying the IP address of his computer. He was using it to track the package.

Authorities say the newly formed local task force will work to crack down on these cases keeping the community safe.

“It gives us resources to focus a little bit more on crime activities that happen through the mail.,” said Vienhage.

Shade said, “This is just one of those other steps that we can do to kind of beef things up for our agency to get some other boots on the ground.”

Springfield police hope to assign an officer to the task force soon.

Andrew Mitchell is now in the Greene County Jail being held without bond.

If convicted he could spend decades in prison.

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