Former U.S. Postal Service employee pleads guilty to federal drug charge

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A former U.S. Postal Service employee who helped deliver marijuana mailed from California to Huntington during a three-year period pleaded guilty Monday to a federal drug charge, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said.

Michael Mason Morton, a former U.S. Postal Service employee who helped deliver marijuana mailed from California to Huntington during a three-year period, pleaded guilty Monday to a federal drug charge.

Michael Mason Morton, 54, pleaded guilty to marijuana distribution. Federal investigators say Morton is the second former postal employee to plead guilty to such a charge.

James Waylon Molinaro pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to possession with intent to distribute marijuana based on his involvement in the conspiracy. Molinaro also pleaded guilty to prohibited possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from an unrelated investigation and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 4.

A third man and former Postal Service employee, Chris Crookshanks, pleaded guilty Aug. 5 to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and is also scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4.

In March 2018, investigators say they found two parcels containing marijuana at the Huntington Post Office that had been mailed from California. They say Morton took them in his delivery truck to a business in the 800 block of Norway Avenue where he turned them over to Molinaro, who investigators say paid the postal service employees.

A West Virginia State Police trooper stopped Molinaro’s vehicle and seized parcels containing 16 pounds of marijuana.

Investigators say others were involved in the conspiracy, which happened between 2015 and March 2018. Morton admitted that he was responsible for the delivery of up to 80 kilograms of marijuana during his participation in the conspiracy.

Morton faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced Nov. 4.