Former Kotzebue postmaster indicted on drug charges

    An aerial image of Kotzebue.

    Kotzebue, Alaska (KINY) - U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Thursday that Shaun Pete Snyder, 34, of Kotzebue, has been indicted in federal court for drug trafficking charges.

    The indictment charges Snyder with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and illegal use of a communication facility.

    According to the indictment, between August 2005 and February 2018, Snyder was employed by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) at the United States Post Office in Kotzebue, and in November 2014, he had assumed the role of Postmaster.

    The indictment alleges that, beginning in October 2016 and continuing to February 2018, Snyder knowingly conspired with others to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana, by agreeing to facilitate the delivery of parcels containing marijuana through the Kotzebue Post Office.

    "As part of the conspiracy, Snyder was to be provided tracking numbers via text messages, of parcels that contained marijuana. Snyder would then track the packages until their arrival at the Kotzebue Post Office, retrieve them, scan them as delivered, and allow the recipients to pick up the packages from the rear freight door – both during and outside normal business hours. It is further alleged that Snyder began accepting cash payments from individuals to process parcels through the Kotzebue Post Office that he knew contained marijuana, and began providing information to individuals on how to mail packages to avoid detection from United States Postal Inspectors."

    If convicted, Snyder faces a maximum of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the most serious charges alleged in the indictment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charisse Arce.

    An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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