Cocaine seized from ship in Chesapeake Bay

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released this photo from a seizure of cocaine estimated to be worth nearly $1 million.

ANNAPOLIS — Federal agents and state investigators discovered more than 44 pounds of cocaine on Wednesday, March 31, during a freighter inspection on the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis.

Officers and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Coast Guard, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police conducted an early morning examination aboard the M/V Samjohn Solidarity, a 958-foot breakbulk carrier ship, which was anchored near Annapolis.

During the inspection, the team discovered 20 bricks concealed inside the vessel’s anchor locker. The bricks contained a white, powdery substance that field-tested positive for the properties of cocaine. The cocaine weighed 20 kilograms, or a little more than 44 pounds, and has a street value of more than $1 million.

No arrests were made. An investigation continues. “This is an example of a collaborative effort that suppresses illegal drug activity and keeps our citizens safe,” said Colonel Adrian Baker of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. “The success of this effort is due to the extraordinary effort among the joint partnership. The Maryland Natural Resources Police will continue to work with our federal partners to provide security for our citizens both on and off the water.”

“Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along with our law enforcement partners remain committed to intercepting transnational criminal organizations’ attempts to smuggle their dangerous drugs into the United States and we remain steadfast in our resolve to help keep our communities safe,” Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office said.

CBP seized an average of 3,677 pounds of dangerous drugs every day across the United States last year.

“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents work diligently to trace and identify criminal drug activity taking place across the U.S.,” said Special Agent in Charge James Mancuso for HSI’s Baltimore field office. “Our unique investigative capabilities coupled with the capabilities of our agency partners help prevent more illicit and illegal drugs from being distributed and deter criminals looking to make a profit from them.”

“The U.S. Coast Guard and our robust network of law enforcement partners offer unique capabilities and personnel to combat illicit maritime activities,” said Captain Joseph Loring, commander of Sector Maryland-National Capital Region. “This seizure demonstrated our collective efforts and unwavering commitment to keeping America safe and secure.”

“DEA has always worked closely with our federal partners, especially in Baltimore.”, said Orville O. Greene, Assistant Special Agent in Charge DEA Baltimore District Office. “This operation exemplifies how separate law enforcement entities can work together as one cohesive unit.”

CBP’s border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.

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