Long Branch police officer accused of running meth lab at home
LONG BRANCH — A 50-year-old police officer has been suspended without pay amid accusations that he was making illegal drugs in his basement and shed.
Christopher Walls, a township resident and 19-year veteran of the Long Branch Police Department, was arrested on Sunday and faced charges of running a methamphetamine lab, while also leaving multiple guns in an open, unlocked safe in the same home as a child, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.
Long Branch police responded to a call about a domestic disturbance on Saturday night around 10:30 p.m. at Walls’ home on the 300 block of West End Avenue.
After another resident in the home told officers that Walls was involved in suspicious drug activity, the State Police Hazmat Unit also responded and found chemicals and equipment consistent with a meth lab, as well as meth residue in some glassware, the prosecutor said.
A large, open and unsecured gun safe in the home held two long guns, four handguns, eight high capacity magazines and a large quantity of ammunition, according to Gramiccioni.
Walls is charged with first-degree maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) production facility, as well as second-degree counts of possession of a firearm during the course of a CDS offense, risking widespread injury and endangering the welfare of a child.
He also faces third-degree charges of manufacturing and possession of CDS (methamphetamine).
Acting Long Branch Police Chief Frank Rizzuto immediately suspended Walls without pay, following his arrest.
“It is disappointing beyond measure that one of our officers could have risked the safety of his family and neighbors by engaging in such dangerous conduct. This officer’s actions do not reflect the moral compass of our officers or this agency,” Rizzuto said in a written statement.
The relationship between Walls and the person who called police was not immediately disclosed on Sunday evening.