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Detection and Prevention of Prohibited Mail
The objective of the Dangerous Mail Investigations Program is to protect the U.S. Postal Service, secure the nation’s mail system and ensure public trust in the mail. This is accomplished through public awareness, prevention efforts, and the aggressive investigation of individuals who violate federal laws and Postal Service rules and regulations.

Specially trained and equipped Postal Inspectors respond when a prohibited mailing, mail bomb or substance may cause harm to Postal Service employees, Postal Service customers, the mail, or Postal Service property. Refer to the Domestic Mail Manual for mailability regulations.

Extortion and Threats
Postal Inspectors investigate individuals who use the mail to extort money or assets by threatening to injure the reputation of a victim or accusing a victim of a crime.

Mail Screening Program
The Code of Federal Regulations (30 CFR 233.11) provides the Chief Postal Inspector with the authority to screen mail reasonably suspected of being dangerous to a person or property.

Postal Inspectors use multi-tiered field-screening to declare mail as non-hazardous. Postal Inspectors are requested to conduct mail-screening as valued partners who convey an “envelope of safety” by protecting mail delivered to high-profile venues, designated as at National Special Security Events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, or other large-scale events where terroristic threats are possible.

In the wake of the biological attacks of 2001, the U.S. Postal Service installed biological detection systems (BDS) to safeguard postal employees and the public from future incidents. BDS serves as an early warning system for the presence of dangerous biologicals. Since the inception of BDS, there have been more than 7 million tests, but not one positive or false-positive result.

Postal Inspectors trained as Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Hazwoper) Specialists regularly participate in drills with federal, state, and local partners to test response protocols in the event BDS detects a dangerous substance. Due to the vigilance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Mail continues to be one of the safest forms of communications in the world.

3 Postal Inspectors in HAZWOPER suits

U.S. Postal Inspectors enforce more than 200 federal laws through investigations of crimes that may adversely affect the U.S. Mail or postal customers. Several of these laws relate to prohibited mailings, extortion and threats:

The enforcement responsibilities under 18 U.S.C. 841-848 are shared by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and the Postal Inspection Service. The Postal Inspection Service has primary investigative jurisdiction for violation of these sections as they relate to the mail and Postal Service property.

Related jurisdiction
18 U.S.C. 876
18 U.S.C. 1715
18 U.S.C. 1716
18 U.S.C.1038


Postal Inspectors loading mail into vehicle

Call U.S. Postal Inspectors for help with buzzing, ticking parcels; mailed suspicious substances, or mailed threats at 1-877-876-2455 (option 2)