Deal police officer arrested on drug charges

FREEHOLD – Deal Police Officer Joseph Ammaturo, 37, of Long Branch, has been arrested for drug offenses and witness tampering, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Officer Ammaturo, who has worked for the Deal Police Department for approximately 14 years, was arrested by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Responsibility and Narcotics Units last night and charged with third-degree Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance, third-degree Witness Tampering, and a disorderly persons charge of possession of marijuana.

Officer Ammaturo had a first appearance this afternoon before the Honorable James M. Newman, Municipal Court Presiding Judge, at the Monmouth County Jail. Officer Ammaturo was released on the conditions that he report to Pretrial Services monthly, have no victim contact, and refrain from drug use. The arrest of Officer Ammaturo today marks the fifteenth law enforcement officer being prosecuted since Prosecutor Gramiccioni took office on July 1, 2012.

“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. This office will aggressively pursue and prosecute any officers who cross that line. 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,” according to Prosecutor Gramiccioni.

The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with any pertinent information, please contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Daniel Newman at 732-431-7160, extension 7167.

If convicted of either third-degree Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance or Witness Tampering, Officer Ammaturo faces a maximum of 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. If convicted of the disorderly persons charge of Possession of Marijuana, Officer Ammaturo faces a maximum of 6 months in jail.

The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and State law.