Drug importer, mail thief nets 9-year sentence - Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: News

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Drug importer, mail thief nets 9-year sentence

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Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:22 pm

ANCHORAGE — A Wasilla woman caught in 2012 with $30,000 worth of heroin and a whole bunch of stolen mail was sentenced Monday to nine years in federal prison.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Brenda Sue Cox, 53, pleaded guilty to distributing methamphetamine and heroin. A former contract mail carrier, Cox also admitted to removing mail from her postal route and bringing it home.

In addition to the prison term, Cox was ordered to pay $1,949.42 in restitution to the people and businesses whose mail she didn’t deliver.

“In sentencing Cox, Judge (Sharon) Gleason noted that Cox’s drug trafficking appeared to be motivated by greed and stressed that she found the nature and circumstances of Cox’s offenses troubling,” the U.S. Attorney’s press release states.

Cox was arrested in mid-October when Alaska State Troopers allowed for a controlled delivery of heroin to her home on Pioneer Peak Drive in the Williwaw Way subdivision off Bogard Road. U.S. Postal Inspectors just prior to the controlled delivery noticed that the package had a phony return address. A drug-sniffing dog alerted to the presence of drugs.

“Inside the package, inspectors located approximately 100 grams of heroin hidden inside a car CD player,” reads an affidavit trooper Shayne Calt filed in Cox’ case back in 2012. “If the heroin in the package were broken down into grams, the street value would likely be over $30,000.”

Federal court documents assert that the package was just one of a dozen that was delivered to Cox’s address between August 2012 and October 2012.

“In addition to the narcotics trafficking, the defendant had also stored hundreds of pieces of undelivered mail, packages and other mail matter throughout her home and in an exterior storage area. None of the items was addressed to the defendant or the defendant’s residence. When questioned about the mail, the defendant admitted that the mail was from her route and that she had brought the mail home,” according to those court filings.

Prosecutors in the case had actually recommended the exact sentence Cox ended up receiving — nine years and an order she pay that restitution.

“The defendant’s actions were designed to put large quantities of extremely dangerous drugs onto the streets of our community,” writes Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Courter in a filing arguing for that sentence. “The defendant’s actions appear to have been motivated not by addiction but by greed. This is not someone who was selling drugs in order to feed her own habit.”

But, on the other side, Cox’s attorney, Rex Lamont Butler and her family members who submitted letters on her behalf argued that Cox was helping her co-defendants. Names for those co-defendants are conspicuously absent from all of the filings the Frontiersman reviewed but both sides agree there were co-defendants. Indeed, the charge Cox pleaded guilty to is a conspiracy charge, a charge that requires Cox have acted in concert with others.

“An examination of Cox’s financial condition at the time of the offense demonstrates that she had an impoverished standard of living. She certainly was not living high on the hog. Someone other than Cox was profiting from the offense,” Butler writes.

Letters from Cox’s mother and sister point the finger at someone that Cox was living with and that she had tried to help.

As for the mail theft, Butler chalked that up to either a lack of time to run her mail route or “inefficiency on her part.”

“Sloth and indolence are moral failings, but Cox did not attempt to profit from her failure to complete her delivery route. In spite of suffering from strained finances, she never once opened the mail she did not deliver,” Butler writes.

But Courter disagreed.

“She was entrusted with thousands of pieces of mail — items that were undoubtedly important both to their senders and their recipients. Rather than taking this position seriously and honoring her commitments, the defendant took literally thousands of pieces of mail and left them strewn about her home,” Courter writes.

And, on the drug offenses, Courter notes that the day Cox’s house was raided, troopers watched two adults and three small children leave the home. One of the adults admitted she got meth from Cox many times.

“Not only was the defendant willing to distribute dangerous drugs but… she was (also) willing to do so while young children were in her home,” Courter writes.

Contact Andrew Wellner at 352-2270 or andrew.wellner@frontiersman.com.

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