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Does USPS Scan Packages For Drugs

By David Krug 4 minute read

When it comes to shipping, the United States Postal Service has to be on top of its game when it comes to security.

All illegal items like alcoholic beverages, guns, and narcotics must be strictly enforced by the Postal Service.

It raises the question: Is the US Postal Service scanning packages? I’ve got the answer you’ve been looking for.

Will USPS Scan Packages In 2022?

USPS scans some shipments, but on the whole it’s a wholly unplanned operation. Occasionally, a suspect shipment may be flagged by a postal worker and subsequently singled out. Packages that go to and from big cities are more likely to be inspected.

Why do USPS scan or x-ray packages? What does USPS check for when scanning packages? Is it possible that USPS can open packages? All the answers may be found here.

Why Do USPS Scan Packages?

Criminals have probably sought to take advantage of the Postal Service for as long as it has existed.

Non-criminals, on the other hand, may accidentally transmit things that might harm others. As a result, the USPS must scan or x-ray parcels in order to protect the health and safety of the general public and its own customers.

Consider how dangerous it would be if someone routinely sent loaded weapons or cases of smashed glass alcohol bottles in the mail.

Even though the United States Postal Service’s legislative limitations discourage most criminals, scanning provides an extra degree of protection. U.S. Postal Inspection Service inspectors are at the forefront of package inspection, leading the way.

This team of sleuths is well-versed in everything from drug trafficking and postal fraud to spoofing and other forms of identity theft and money laundering.

Does USPS Scan Packages For Drugs?

There is a high likelihood that USPS may scan suspiciously packed medications. Attempting to send narcotics, especially opioids such as heroin, marijuana (even in decriminalized jurisdictions), and prescription medications, is a crime.

Yes, even if you have a legitimate prescription for certain antibiotics or painkillers, you are not authorized to mail them (as a prescription company does).

And trust me, drugs in a bottle create a very noticeable rattling sound that any postal worker would hear with suspicion.

One postal worker said in a Quora discussion that he had a package of marijuana burst open while being processed.

Either you can over-tape the box (which appears suspicious) or you may risk the occurrence of the events listed above. Not worth the effort!

Will USPS Know If Alcohol Is Shipped?

There is no certainty that the United States Postal Service (USPS) will know that you are shipping alcohol, but there is also no assurance that you will be able to get away with it.

The sound might alert a skilled postal worker if you’re trying to mail glass bottles. Breakage or spilling might make your infraction more obvious if you are not careful (and you are immediately guilty of a felony).

For example, if you’re delivering something other than booze but are utilizing the same box that once held booze, you’ll need to take certain precautions.

To prevent the USPS from flagging your item, you must cover any indicators of alcohol on the box, including words such as “wine” and “vodka” and images such as wine glasses.

However, suppose you wish to ship booze. FedEx and UPS are viable options. Both shipping companies demand additional registration in order to transport alcoholic beverages, yet they permit it.

What Makes A Package Suspicious To USPS?

The USPS gives a useful list of suspicious qualities that they watch out for. A basic summary includes:

  • Recipient addresses that are handwritten but no return addresses are included in packages
  • Do not X-ray or “Confidential” labels on packages
  • Packages that are disproportionately weighty for their size
  • Excessive amounts of tape on the packages
  • Packages sent from a different zip code than the one shown on the return address

Visit the USPS website for a complete list of suspected items.

Is USPS Allowed To Open Packages?

To ensure that people’s rights to privacy and to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures are protected by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, warrants may only be issued in the event of probable cause, which must be established through a showing of probable cause, as well as a warrant supporting the search and seizure in question.

First-class mail and packages can’t be opened by the USPS unless they obtain a warrant. As soon as they discover something that seems to be a weapon or a bottle of alcohol on the scan, they will apply for and receive an official search warrant.

First-class mail is the only class that is protected by the Fourth Amendment, according to a FAQ sheet from the US Postal Inspection Service.

Those that do not include “private correspondence” are exempt from the warrant requirement and can be examined at the discretion of USPS.

Bottom Line

When it comes to random scanning of parcels, the USPS is more likely to do so in big urban areas or when questionable packages are found.

In spite of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unwarranted opening of First-Class mail, the penalties for shipping illegal materials are too severe to risk.

David Krug

Author