A former Deal police officer admitted to witness tampering in a drug-related case, authorities said.
Joseph Ammaturo, 38, of Long Branch was ordered to give up his local police job as well as all future public employment in New Jersey, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement.
The 14-year Deal police veteran has been suspended from without pay since his arrest, Gramiccioni said.
Ammaturo entered his plea on Thursday during a virtual court hearing before Superior Court Judge David Bauman.
"The community expects better of a law enforcement officer, and the law enforcement community holds its own officers to a higher standard. Mr. Ammaturo failed us all,” Gramiccioni said.
Ammaturo was charged with tampering, conspiracy and drug possession when he was arrested in December 2018. He also was charged last July with possession of clenbuterol, a drug used to treat asthma in horses that also is used by bodybuilders, with intent to distribute, the prosecutor said.
Drug-dealing charges will be dropped as part of Ammaturo’s plea agreement, a prosecutor’s office spokesman said.
“Any violations of the law and betrayal of the public’s trust will not be tolerated by the members of the Deal Police Department,” Deal Police Chief Ronen Neuman said in a statement.
“We will not allow the actions of this officer to tarnish the commitment and integrity of the men and women of this department. Our officers are highly trained and dedicated professionals that serve with honor, dignity, and respect. The public should be reassured that as an accredited agency our officers are held accountable in both upholding and enforcing the laws.”
Ammaturo is due to be sentenced on Sept. 4, when he also faces additional time on probation, the prosecutor said. His lawyer is Mitchell Ansell of Ocean Township.
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit.
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