Per the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland: A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging four defendants with theft of mail matter and the unlawful possession of postal service keys. The indictment was returned on July 21, 2022 and unsealed today upon the defendant’s arrests. Charged in the indictment are:
• Eyalan Owona, age 21, of Upper Malboro, Maryland;
• Ibrahim Kourouma, age 22, of Glenarden, Maryland
• Ali Dickerson, age 20, of Hyattsville, Maryland; and
• Benjamin Washington, age 22, of Owings Mills, Maryland
Owona, Dickerson, and Washington will have their appearances today beginning at 1:30 p.m., in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan. Co-defendant Kourouma remains a fugitive.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Acting Postal Inspector in Charge Tira Hayward of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division.
According to the two-count indictment, on May 25, 2022, the defendants allegedly unlawfully possessed proprietary United States Postal Service keys with the intent to use, sell, and dispose of the keys. On the same day, the defendants allegedly stole mail matter from a United States Postal Service depository for mail located on Stanford Street in Bethesda, Maryland (Chevy Chase). The mail that was stolen in the theft included the mail of Victim 1 who had a recipient address located in Silver Spring, Maryland.
As stated in the detention memo filed on behalf of the government, the defendants’ arrests occurred as part of a larger law enforcement investigation into a series of violent armed robberies of United States Postal Service (“USPS”) Letter Carriers. During these robberies Letter Carriers appear to have been targeted for proprietary keys that are used to open USPS mail collection boxes. According to the detention memo, at least 13 robberies involving USPS Letter Carriers have taken place in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area between May 23, 2022, and July 7, 2022.
If convicted on the current charges, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison possession of United States Postal Service keys and 5 years in federal prison for the theft of mail matter. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.