BOSTON — A U.S. Postal Service employee who worked at the Fall River Post Office pleaded guilty today to stealing mail he thought contained drugs.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said 44-year-old Shawn Herron of Whitman admitted to one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and one count of theft of mail by a postal employee.

Herron has been working for postal service since 2005, first at the Canton Post Office and more recently as Manager of Customer Services in Fall River.

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He tracked packages he suspected of containing narcotics and, instead of dealing with them appropriately, opened them and stole the contents.

In particular, he profiled priority parcels from Puerto Rico and West Coast states and removed them from the mail stream.

He also removed packages flagged by law enforcement as potentially containing illegal drugs.

Herron would track the suspicious packages through the USPS database and, once they arrived in Fall River, he would take them to his office and steal the drugs for distribution.

Following his conviction, he now faces up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 17, 2022.

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