It's no secret that illegal drugs are routinely shipped through the U.S. mail and international courier services such as FedEx and UPS.

A postal worker in New Jersey — who apparently was well aware of that — used his nose to steal more than a dozen parcels containing marijuana.

Akeem Cauthen, a former mail sorter at the U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Teterboro, admitted Thursday to sniffing out packages containing illegal weed.

According to court documents, Cauthen looked for parcels originating from California and Colorado where recreational marijuana is legal. He also sought packages from Arizona. When he found likely packages, Cauthen opened or punctured holes in them and inhaled.

When he smelled marijuana, Cauthen would replace the mailing labels with labels with addresses in Paterson where he could later retrieve the packages.

Federal prosecutors said Cauthen diverted about $32,000 worth of illegal marijuana between May and November 2017.

Cauthen pleaded guilty to a charge of mail theft in U.S. District Court in Newark, said U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Oct. 24,  prosecutors said.

Last year, the United States Postal Inspection Service seized 40,489 pounds of illegal drugs and $22.5 million illicit cash proceeds shipped through the mail, according to an inspection service spokesman.