Participated in at least two armed robberies of letter carriers, one in Antioch and one in San Francisco
Enforcement actions are coupled with announcement of $150,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of additional suspects
By U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
OAKLAND – U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez announced today that multiple arrests have been made in cases involving the interference with delivery of the U.S. mail. The announcement was made at a press conference held this morning at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building.
The theft of postal keys, break-ins of postal vehicles, assaults on letter carriers, and various other criminal acts involving interference with delivery of the mail and the alleged illegal possession of personally identifying information were all discussed at the press conference. According to U.S. Attorney Ramsey, defendants in each case now are facing severe federal penalties that make clear their alleged crimes were not worth the consequences.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service released the following surveillance videos of the alleged suspects:
“In each of the cases I will discuss,” said U.S. Attorney Ramsey, “the government alleges the defendants have violated federal criminal laws and, as a consequence, federal agents and local law enforcement has tracked them down . . .. The penalties for these crimes can be sobering.”
Inspector in Charge Nuñez reinforced the U.S. Attorney’s remarks and announced that the reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of any individual who robs or assaults a postal worker is now $150,000.
“There is no more important mission for us as federal agents than protecting postal workers from crime and violence,” said Inspector in Charge Nuñez. “To any copycats or wannabes out there who might consider robbing a postal worker, I ask you to consider the years you will face in federal prison, the price on your head, and that postal inspectors will not stop hunting you. The proceeds of this crime are not worth your freedom.”
U.S. Attorney Ramsey stated that most of the cases involved the theft of specialized postal keys that often grant access to large mailboxes or mail storage facilities. Holding one such postal key in his hand, U.S. Attorney Ramsey explained that federal laws have been “carefully crafted to protect the sanctity of the mail, including the sensitive information we entrust to the mail system; the safety of the federal employees and contractors who deliver the mail; and the federal property that is used to ensure mail delivery.”
He then went on to describe how three of the defendants are alleged to have violated the law as follows:
- Robert Devon Nicholson Bell, Jr., 19, of Antioch, Calif., is alleged to have participated in at least two armed robberies of letter carriers, one in Antioch and one in San Francisco. Allegations in the criminal complaint filed against the defendant describe Bell’s use of mail keys to steal mail from blue mailboxes. According to a criminal complaint, Bell was found in Antioch in possession of robbed postal keys, a substantial quantity of stolen mail, a fraudulent USPS ID with his picture, and stolen and counterfeit checks. He now faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison for the unlawful possession of the postal key, as well as 25 years for each of the armed robberies. (Case No. 23-mj-71439 MAG)
- Anthony Medina, 42, of American Canyon, Calif., is alleged to have unlawfully possessed seven mail keys. According to the complaint, officers with the San Francisco Police Department were attempting to perform a traffic stop when the defendant attempted to flee. Officers arrested the defendant and, in addition to the keys, defendant is alleged to have possessed credit cards in the names of other individuals, images of suspected stolen mail, and access codes for an apartment complex in San Francisco. Medina now faces 10 years in prison for each violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1704—the unlawful possession of the postal keys, as well as possible prosecution for unlawful possession of mail and credit cards. (Case No. 23-mj-71443 MAG)
- Derek Hopson, 33, of Oakland, Calif., is alleged to have stolen mail and postal keys in two separate incidents that occurred in June of 2023. The complaint alleges the San Francisco Police Department responded to a burglary in progress at a residence in the Mission District of San Francisco when officers encountered the defendant in possession of several postal keys. Hopson also allegedly used a mailbox key to gain access to mailboxes at a residential complex in the Presidio of San Francisco. He now faces a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison for violating 18 U.S.C. sections 1704 and 1706. (Case No. 23-mj-71403 MAG)
Indictments and criminal complaints merely allege that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, in addition to the prison terms described, as part of any sentence following conviction the court may order defendants to serve an additional term of supervised release to begin after a prison term, additional fines, and restitution, if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The prosecution of these cases are the result of investigations by the United States Postal Inspection Service.