Postal inspectors intercepted more than four pounds of methamphetamine sent to Anchorage inside papayas last week, according to a charging document filed in federal court.
The man who allegedly received the meth, 25-year-old San Saechao, is charged with possession of drugs with the intent to distribute the powerful, addictive stimulant.
On Tuesday, a postal inspector in Anchorage got a search warrant to look inside a package sent from Visalia, Calif., to Anchorage. It was unclear from the charges why the package was suspected to contain drugs.
Inside the Express Mail package were six papayas inside plastic wrap. The papayas were cut in half and contained vacuum-sealed bags that, altogether, held about 1,843 grams of methamphetamine, the charges say.
Law enforcement officers removed the meth and replaced it with sham drugs and a monitoring device that would alert them when the package was opened. Another postal inspector delivered the package on Wednesday to its intended destination, a house on Wildberry Loop. A man signed for the package, and federal agents watched as a dark-colored SUV arrived about two hours later, according to the charges.
The officers followed the burgundy GMC Yukon to a house on East Second Avenue, watched a man carry the package inside and heard an alert tone signalling someone had opened the package. Several minutes later, federal agents entered the home and found two men, three women, four children, the charges say. The package was open in the living room and one of the men, Saechao, had an invisible spray that had transferred onto his hands and glowed under a black light, indicating he had handled the fake drugs, according to the charges.
While searching the house, the agents found another 117 grams of methamphetamine, $8,478 cash, about a half-ounce of marijuana, two handguns, a scale and a cash-counting machine, the charges say. The six papayas were in a trash can in the kitchen.
Saechao was arrested following the search and charged Thursday.
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE