Drug trafficking charges filed against former head of Kotzebue post office

Kotzebue, along the edge of the spit. (Photo by Jenn Ruckel, KNOM)

A former postmaster in Kotzebue has been indicted for charges of drug trafficking, which allegedly took place over a two-year period while he was running the local post office.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska announced Thursday that Shaun Pete Snyder of Kotzebue has been charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, among other drug-related charges. Between October 2016 and February 2018, Snyder allegedly had marijuana and distributed packages containing the drug through the post office.

Chloe Martin, the public affairs officer for the agency, U.S. Attorney’s Office for District of Alaska, lays out the charges brought against the former postmaster.

“If convicted, Snyder faces a maximum of up to five years in prison and a maximum of up to $250,000 in fines for the most serious charges alleged in the indictment,” Martin said. “Those charges are 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, which in this case was a U.S. postal facility.”

According to the indictment, Snyder started accepting cash payments from unnamed individuals to process mail that he knew contained marijuana while also helping them avoid detection from U.S. postal inspectors. Martin could not comment on whether or not other individuals or entities were being investigated related to this drug trafficking conspiracy.

However, Martin did say the investigation is ongoing.

Several Kotzebue residents told KNOM Radio that Snyder continued working in the community following his removal from his position with the local post office last year. Martin confirms Snyder has not been arrested and is not in custody at this time, but he has been summoned by the court to be arraigned in Anchorage on March 12.

Multiple agencies including the U.S. Postal Service and Alaska State Troopers conducted the investigation in this case.