Ramp agents charged with massive theft of computers headed for Alaska schools

(Photo from Ravn Alaska)
(Photo from Ravn Alaska)(KTUU)
Published: Jan. 19, 2018 at 5:14 PM AKST
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Six former Ravn Alaska ramp agents have been charged with a massive mail theft of Apple computers destined for village schools.

The conspirators stole $489,000 in mailed goods including electronics, cigarettes and tobacco, according to charges filed this week in federal court. The case centers on 343 computers that went missing between March 2015 and April of last year in Anchorage, the charges say.

Ravn responded to KTUU's questions about the case with a written response Friday afternoon.

"These individuals are no longer employed by our company. When this matter came to our attention, we immediately cooperated with U.S. Post Office officials, assisted in their investigation, took prompt corrective action, and terminated the employment of the people involved," Ravn stated.

The conspiracy involved ramp agents who used a supervisor truck to carry mail from a U.S. Postal Service processing center on Postmark Drive to nearby Ravn airplanes, according to the indictment.

The mail was intended to be flown to various Alaska villages including St. Marys, Mountain Village, Stebbins, Unalakleet, Emmonak, Kotlik, Alakanuk, Aniak, Greyling, Kalskag and Koyuk, the charges say.

Prosecutors say the Apple computers, worth about $380,000, disappeared after being scanned in at the Postal Service distribution center near the Anchorage airport but before they arrived at Post Offices in villages served by Ravn.

The defendants include:

-- Congress Lepou, who was a Ravn Alaska ramp agent lead, according to the charges.

-- Breadoflife “Presley” Faiupu, who was Ravn ramp agent trainer

-- Hubert Barte, former ramp agent

-- Paulo Maae, former ramp agent

-- Harold Velicaria, former ramp agent

-- Rogelio “Roger” Daquis, former ramp agent

“Lepou and Faiupu used Ravn Alaska’s supervisor truck — intended for the transportation of mail from the U.S. Postal Service facility to Ravn’s airplanes for delivery to villages — to take articles stolen from the mail and drive them to the Ravn employee parking lot to load into their personal vehicles,” the indictment alleges.

Lepou and Faiupu worked with the other defendants to find buyers for the stolen goods with the defendants sharing the proceeds, the charges say.

The indictment includes a laundry list of stolen items, with thefts sometimes occurring several times in a single month. A few of the many stolen items included:

- Two Apple Mac Mini desktop computers intended for Unalakleet, 667 cartons of cigarettes, 305 cans of chewing tobacco and eight GCI prepaid cell phones worth more than $109,000. (April 13, 2017)

- Four Apple iMac desktop computers taken by Lepou before they could reach the Lower Yukon School District in Mountain Village. Lepou allegedly sold two of the computers to Barte and two to Daquis. (Jan. 6, 2017)

- Apple MacBook Pros stolen from the mail by Lepou before they could reach the Tukurngailnquq School in Stebbins and the Bering Strait School District in Unalakleet. (Oct. 13, 2016)

- Seven Apple MacBook Pro laptops stolen from the mail en route to the Lower Yukon School District in Mountain Village. (Aug. 28, 2016)

At least one of the accused mail thieves was arrested today, according to federal court records. The defendants face charges of conspiracy, mail theft and possession of stolen mail.

A grand jury handed up the indictment on Tuesday.