A Coventry, Rhode Island man arrested on marijuana distribution charges by Lowell, Massachusetts, police died Friday when he jumped into the Merrimack River wearing handcuffs and drowned while attempting to flee. Luke Hammond, 23, becomes the 39th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

According to the Boston Herald, Hammond had been pulled over and arrested Friday evening on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and driving without a license. While officers waited for a police van to take him to jail, Hammond, who was already handcuffed, broke free and sprinted about 100 yards before leaping into the river.

Lowell Fire Department scuba divers found Hammond’s body in the water about 45 minutes after he jumped in the river. He was taken to Lowell General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“When he was found, he only had one hand in the cuffs,” said Capt. Randall Humphrey, a Lowell Police Department spokesman. “He was in custody (at the time of his escape). He had been handcuffed and somehow was able to get one of his hands out. I would say he jumped into the river intentionally. I don’t think he tripped and fell in,” Humphrey said.

READ MORE: Alleged Rhode Island Marijuana Dealer Drowns Fleeing Cops
The Daily Chronic, Oct. 11, 2011