PITTSBURGH – Jury selection in the trial of a Pittsburgh postmaster from Canonsburg who authorities said threatened coworkers who saw him opening packages containing drugs began Tuesday in Allegheny County Court.
Daniel P. Davis, 51, faces charges of obstruction of justice and four counts each of witness intimidation, criminal coercion and official oppression. The charges, brought by the county district attorney’s office, stem from allegations Davis would enter the addresses of senders and recipients into the Google search engine and open packages if neither came back as valid.
His trial is set to begin Wednesday afternoon before Judge David Cashman.
Davis became acting postmaster in August 2014 and took the job permanently six months later.
Investigators said Davis was seen opening coffee bags containing marijuana, cocaine and heroin, afterward telling one witness he was the “the most ruthless (expletive) you’ll ever meet” and not to “cross” him . He allegedly told another – whom he’d instructed to watch for shipments from other states and not to talk to investigators – “the last person who crossed (him)” was no longer an employee.
Davis’ attorney, Joe Chester, argued at a preliminary hearing in September 2015 that his client was looking for shipments of drugs to remove them from distribution and he had the authority to open them.
Davis is free on $10,000 bond. The U.S. Postal Service previously placed Davis on leave, but it is unclear when. A spokesman with the U.S. Postal Service didn’t immediately return an inquiry Tuesday regarding Davis’ employment status.