On Thursday morning, Steve Bannon was arrested off the coast of Connecticut in a $28 million yacht named Lady May. The charges levied against Bannon include conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud. Allegedly, the former White House Chief Strategist found himself entangled in a scheme to defraud donors to a crowdfunding campaign promising to construct a wall on the US-Mexico border. However, it wasn’t local law enforcement or the FBI that arrested Bannon. It was, instead, the law enforcement arm of the US Postal Service.
USPS Can Make Arrests through the Postal Inspection Service
Believe it or not, USPS has the authority to make arrests and convictions. However, they can do only do so through a special arm called the US Postal Inspection Service. The US Postal Inspection Service (or USPIS, for short) isn’t make up of everyday letter carriers. In fact, it is an elite police unit that has been fighting crime since the mail fraud statute was enacted in 1872.
According to the USPS website, the Postal Inspection service made 5,759 arrests related to postal crimes such as mail theft, mail fraud, and prohibited mailings. 4,995 of those arrests resulted in convictions.
How (and Why) the US Postal Inspection Service Arrested Steve Bannon
Interestingly, neither of the charges brought up against Bannon appear to be directly related to the mail. When asked about their investigation into Bannon, the USPIS declined to comment. However, Philip Bartlett, Director of the New York division of USPIS, provided a simple quote on the matter:
“No one is above the law.”
Details or no details, Bannon’s arrest makes one thing abundantly clear: it’s more than just law enforcement authorities criminals need to look out for. It’s also the eagle eye of the US Postal Service.