Illicit Drugs in International Mail

Hearing Date: September 7, 2017 12:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB


  • To examine how the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) security standards for international mail facilitate an influx of illicit drugs to the United States.
  • To examine a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examining the costs and benefits of using electronic data to screen items sent through international mail.    


  • USPS reported a 54 percent increase on inbound international mail volume from FY 2012 to FY 2016. The rise of e-commerce paired with the lack of adequate security screening measures creates a way for items to enter the country virtually unchecked through inbound international mail. 
  • Under USPS’ current system, the majority of packages sent from foreign countries can enter the U.S. without having advanced electronic data processed by our national intelligence and law enforcement agencies. 
  • At the request of the House Oversight Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, GAO examined and released a report titled, “International Mail Security: Costs and Benefits of Using Electronic Data to Screen Mail Need to be Assessed”. 

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable Gregory Thome Director, Office of U.N. Specialized and Technical Agencies Bureau of International Organization Affairs U.S. Department of State Document
Mr. Guy Cottrell Chief Postal Inspector U.S. Postal Service Document
Mr. Todd C. Owen Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations U.S. Customs and Border Protection Document
Ms. Lori Rectanus Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues U.S. Government Accountability Office Document
Ms. Tammy Whitcomb Acting Inspector General U.S. Postal Service Document