June 14, 2023

Batesville men sentenced to federal prison for robbery of postal worker

Therese Apel

Photo by Joel Moysuh on Unsplash

Three Batesville men were sentenced Tuesday to over 10 years in prison for the armed robbery of a U.S. Postal Service contract carrier.

According to court documents, Jamarr Smith, 38, Gilbert McThunel II, 37, and Thomas Iroko Ayodele, 40, were each convicted on February 24, 2023, of using a dangerous weapon to rob a contract postal carrier of money belonging to the U.S. Postal Service and conspiracy to rob the employee.

Evidence presented during a four-day jury trial revealed that on February 5, 2018, Smith, McThunel, and Ayodele drove to Lake Cormorant, Mississippi, where the Postal Service’s contract carrier was robbed as he picked up mail for delivery to the Distribution Center in Memphis.

Evidence showed that when the carrier arrived at the Lake Cormorant Post Office at approximately 5:15 p.m. to pick up the mail, McThunel approached the carrier, struck him multiple times in the face with a firearm, threatened to kill him, and then stole bags containing U.S. Postal Service money from the carrier’s truck. Ayodele dropped McThunel off at the Lake Comorant Post Office prior to the robbery and picked him up afterward, while Smith acted as a lookout from a separate vehicle.

At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, District Court Judge Sharion Aycock sentenced Smith and McThunel each to 121 months in prison and Ayodele to 136 months in prison. Each defendant will serve five years of supervision following their release from prison. The defendants were also ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Postal Service for the money taken in the robbery and to the contract carrier for medical costs associated with injuries he received during the robbery.

“Combatting violent crime and protection of our citizens is one of the highest priorities for the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Mississippi,” remarked U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner. “We hope that today’s sentence will serve as a message to all who would target or victimize their fellow citizens in the hopes of easy personal gain. Such acts will not be tolerated and we will do all we can to see that violent criminals and those who assist them are incarcerated for their crimes.”

“Postal Inspectors’ duties include protecting postal employees and investigating violent crimes that are committed against them,” said Scott Fix, Inspector-in-Charge of the Houston Division. “While these types of crimes are rare, when they do occur, they become a top priority for us. The sentencing of Jamar Smith, Gilbert McThunel and Thomas Ayodele for the armed robbery of a USPS Contract Driver at the Lake Cormorant, MS Post Office is a testament to the dedication of Postal Inspectors to bring to justice those individuals that threaten the safety of our postal employees. We extend our appreciation to the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with this investigation.”

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Mims and Clyde McGee prosecuted the case.

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