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U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Ralph Minni, 52, and Grace Marie Lopez, 30, of Greece, NY, were arrested and charged in separate criminal complaints with conspiring and attempting to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean C. Eldridge, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaints, Minni is the manager of the Greece, NY Post Office, and Lopez works for the Post Office at the main Jefferson Road facility in Rochester. Minni and Lopez are accused of utilizing their positions to obtain quantities of marijuana and cocaine through the mail and then redistributing the narcotics in the Rochester area.
During the investigation, law enforcement conducted numerous controlled purchases of narcotics from Lopez, who discussed how she obtained the narcotics from her then-boyfriend Minni and described how he used his position as a postal employee to avoid detection and to protect the narcotics. Throughout the investigation, Minni was observed removing mail packages from the post office work floor and taking them into his private office at the Greece Station, later emerging with one or more packages that often appeared to be repackaged. Minni would put the original package back into the mail stream and take a separate box with the contents from the parcel to his personal vehicle. On at least three occasions, video surveillance captured Minni taking cocaine from his desk or pocket and giving it to another employee to snort.
On May 2, 2022, investigators observed Minni remove a package from the work room floor and take it into his office. After removing the contents, Minni returned the original package to the mail stream, took the contents to his vehicle in a separate box, and left the post office shortly after, at which time he was taken into custody. During the execution of search warrants at Minni’s office, his residence, and his vehicle, investigators recovered approximately four pounds of marijuana, over $75,000 worth of narcotics, including THC, marijuana, and cocaine, 40 firearms, over 5,000 rounds of ammunition, and a bullet proof vest.
The complaint is a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Eastern Area Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Modafferi; and the United States Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Ketty Larco-Ward. Additional assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito; the Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Wood; and the New York State Police, under the direction of Major Barry Chase.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.