Shawn J. Soper
OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City police narcotics agent last week was honored with the prestigious Enrique S. Camarena Award, named for a U.S. agent abducted and tortured to death by a Mexican cartel 25 years ago during his ongoing crusade to stop the flow of drugs into the U.S.
The Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Elks Regional Association last week honored Corporal James Schwartz with the award, recognizing the long-time officer for his contributions in the effort to keep drugs off the resort’s streets. Regional Elks associations all over the country each year present the Camarena awards to the individual officers who best represent the spirit of the namesake’s legacy.
Schwartz said this week he was honored to receive the award.
“I am truly humbled to received the Camarena Award,” he said. “I am just as excited about my job today as I was when I started in narcotics and I look forward to continuing to work as hard as Enrique Camarena did to keep drugs off of the streets of Ocean City.”
Schwartz started his law enforcement career as a seasonal officer with the OCPD in 1997 before moving on to a brief stint with the Norfolk, Va. Police Department. He returned to the OCPD full time in 1999 and has been assigned to the Vice/Narcotics Unit of the Criminal Investigation Division since 2000.
Schwartz is the only officer in the history of the OCPD to win the Camarena Award, but his most recent honor is just another feather in his award-winning cap during his time with the department. For example, in 2009, Schwartz was as awarded the Bronze Star for his actions that helped stop nearly 500 grams of cocaine from entering Worcester County. In 2008, he was awarded the Maryland Chiefs of Police Exceptional Performance Award for his work in narcotics enforcement, becoming one of just three narcotics officers in the state to receive the award.
Also in 2008, Schwartz won the Ocean City Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch Officer of the Year Award. In addition, he has also received a meritorious service award, excellent police performance award and two unit citations for exceptional police work in narcotics.
During his tenure with the OCPD, Schwartz has authored over 50 drug search and seizure warrants, purchased over 420 grams of crack and powder cocaine with an estimated street value of over $31,500, initiated and supervised over 100 long-term felony drug investigations and has been involved in hundreds of drug arrests as a undercover narcotics detective.