Jersey Shore cop busted on cocaine charges
DEAL — A veteran member of the police department is facing legal trouble of his own after being charged with various drug offenses and witness tampering.
Joseph Ammaturo, 37, a Long Branch resident and a 14-year member of the Deal Police Department, was arrested Wednesday night.
He was charged with third-degree conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance, third-degree witness tampering and a disorderly-persons offense of possession of marijuana.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni did not provide information about what led to Ammaturo's arrest, saying only that he is the 15th law enforcement officer to be prosecuted in the county since Gramiccioni took office six years ago.
Citing the criminal complaint, NJ reported Ammaturo is charged with conspiring since January 2016 with at least one person to possess cocaine. The website also said the witness tampering charge stems from an incident on Dec. 13, according to the criminal complaint.
"There is no greater breach of the public's trust than a sworn law enforcement officer who breaks the laws he is sworn to uphold," Gramiccioni said. "It is a stain on the reputations of all hardworking and honest police officers when one of their own violates the public trust in this way."
After appearing in front of a judge at the Monmouth County Jail, Ammaturo was released with several conditions. He will be required to report to Pretrial Services on a monthly basis, have no victim contact and must refrain from drug use.
If he is convicted on the conspiracy charge or witness tampering charge, he faces five years in state prison.
According to state pension records, Ammaturo earns a base salary of $126,182
The prosecutor encouraged anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Daniel Newman at 732-431-7160 ext. 7167.