Authorities discovered about 44 pounds of cocaine on a ship anchored near Annapolis. Handout photo..

$1 Million Cocaine Bust on Bulk Carrier off Annapolis

Federal agents have a lot of questions after finding 44 pounds of cocaine in the anchor locker of a bulk carrier anchored in the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis.

A multi-agency team of investigators boarded the 958-foot, Baltimore-bound breakbulk carrier M/V Samjohn Solidarity early Wednesday morning. The DEA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources conducted the freighter inspection.

During the examination, the team found 20 bricks hidden in the vessel’s anchor locker. The bricks field-tested positive for suspected cocaine. The 20 kilograms has a street value of more than $1 million.

The Samjohn Solidarity flies under the Marshall Islands flag and was on its way to Baltimore from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, according to ship tracker marinetraffic.com.

So far, arrests have been made, and an investigation is underway.

The agencies involved in the bust say cooperation was key to its success.

“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.”

State natural resources police agree:

“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.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers routinely 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.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano