Fellow employees testify at trial for suspended postmaster
January 7, 2017 12:00 AM
By Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Four employees of the U.S. Postal Service testified this week that they never saw another employee open packages looking for drugs or other contraband until suspended Pittsburgh postmaster Daniel Davis arrived here from Toledo, Ohio.
Mr. Davis told them he was looking for drugs, and in one specific instance in December 2014, he grabbed an express mail package, cut it open and found bags of coffee with drugs hidden inside.
“Dan opened up all these packages,” testified Mavin Parker, a manager who worked in a postal facility in East Liberty. “I’ve never seen so much drugs in my life.
“He said they called it ‘party packs.’”
Ms. Parker is one of four people Mr. Davis is accused of threatening or intimidating after it was learned he was under investigation for opening packages at local postal branches. Under the law, it is illegal to open someone else’s mail, even for the postal inspector, unless there is consent or a signed search warrant.
Mr. Davis’ trial began Wednesday before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman. Testimony will resume Tuesday.
After an investigation was initiated by the Office of Inspector General, state prosecutors said Mr. Davis threatened Ms. Parker as well as three other employees.
“’You better not be talking about what you saw. You better not tell nobody,’” Ms. Parker said he told her. “I was scared of him because it took me 30 years to build my credibility of being a black female manager.”
Dwayne Mayo, who also was working at East Liberty, said Mr. Davis told him he was “ruthless. … Don’t cross me.”
“He grabbed packages all the time in the East Liberty office. He’d look at them, shake them, smell them,” Mr. Mayo testified. “He was teaching me about finding packages with drugs in them.”
Mr. Davis’ defense attorney told the jury in his opening statement that when Mr. Davis was the postmaster in Toledo, he worked with U.S. postal inspectors there as well as with the Toledo narcotics task force, helping to intercept packages containing drugs.
In Pittsburgh, Mr. Davis was continuing the same work, attorney Joseph Chester said.
When Mr. Davis opened packages, Mr. Chester asked Mr. Mayo, it “did not happen in a secretive way, did it?”
“No,” Mr. Mayo answered.
“It was out in the open?” the attorney continued.
After he opened the package in December 2014 containing the coffee beans and drugs, Mr. Davis had another employee call postal inspectors to come and collect the evidence, witnesses said. Mr. Davis instructed the employees to tell the inspectors that the package came open in transit, they said.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter: @PaulaReedWard
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