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United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General


Tammy L. Whitcomb, Inspector General


United States Postal Service


Federal Government

Business Challenge

Drug traffickers increasingly use the mail to transport their products. Narcotic shipments into the United States present a great risk – not only to the safety of citizens in the country, but the safety of mail handlers as well. Some of the drugs that make their way into the country are so dangerous that simply contacting them with the skin can have fatal consequences. The USPS Office of Inspector General, in cooperation with several other federal agencies, determined that a task force would be needed to address this issue.

Analytics Solution

The USPS uses data analytics to identify and remove suspicious packages from the mail stream. The organization leveraged multiple sources of information – including historic data based on known intercepts of narcotics coming into the country and advanced electronic data provided by other countries – to build an advanced visualization tool that helps to profile and generate lists of suspicious packages. The data-driven results are sent to employees within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who audit the lists of packages and provide the USPS with daily updates on suspicious packages they want intercepted.


The analytics solution has provided a window into the United States mail stream, which has allowed the USPS to better forecast and eliminate suspicious parcels.