A Brooklyn, N.Y., truck driver ran a red light in Charles County before dawn yesterday and wound up the target of the biggest cocaine bust in the history of the county, possibly the state, as police seized $41 million worth of the drug.
Cary Grace, 59, was headed north on U.S. 301 through Waldorf just before 3 a.m. when he ran the light at the intersection of St. Patricks Drive and was pulled over by Patrolman 1st Class Kevin Barrows of the Charles County Sheriff's Office, said Capt. Thomas Burch.
After learning through a computer records check that Mr. Grace was driving with a suspended license, Patrolman Barrows arrested Mr. Grace. He then searched the cab of the truck, which Mr. Grace was driving with no trailer in tow.
Behind the driver and passenger seats, the officer found five cardboard boxes with 199 kilograms, or 439 pounds, of cocaine. Captain Burch said the haul is estimated to be worth more than $41 million.
It is standard procedure to search a vehicle when a motorist is arrested, he said, noting the boxes were not inside any locked compartments, just tucked behind the seats.
Captain Burch said the drug was identified as cocaine in tests conducted at the sheriff's office in La Plata yesterday. The load has since been turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Captain Burch, who has been with the department 22 years, said LTC it was the largest cocaine seizure in the history of the county, but a spokeswoman for the state police said she could not confirm that it was the largest seizure in state history.
Mr. Grace was charged under the state's drug kingpin statute with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute cocaine and with transporting cocaine into the state.
It appeared from markings on the boxes that the drugs had come from the southwestern United States. Captain Burch said it was not clear what state Mr. Grace had driven from, or exactly where he was headed.
The suspect was being held without bond last night at the Detention Center in La Plata.