A 19-year veteran police officer of the Long Branch Police Department has been suspended without pay after he was arrested and charged today with various offenses related to manufacturing and maintaining a methamphetamine laboratory at his home, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Officials said Mr. Christopher Walls, 50, of West End Avenue in the city, is charged with first degree maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) production facility, second-degree possession of a firearm during the course of a CDS offense, second-degree risking widespread injury, second degree endangering the welfare of a child, third-degree manufacturing CDS (methamphetamine), and third-degree possession of CDS (methamphetamine).
“Thanks to the swift action of our office, the Long Branch Police Department, and the New Jersey State Police, a very serious risk to public safety has been averted.
The collaborative efforts of our agencies dismantled a very dangerous situation. It is particularly distressing that this hazard was caused by a sworn law enforcement officer.” Gramiccioni said.
After learning of the details involving Walls, Acting Long Branch Police Chief Frank Rizzuto immediately suspended him without pay.
“The officers in our agency risk their lives daily to protect and serve our residents.
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,” Acting Chief Rizzuto said.
Long Branch police were called to Walls’ home on the 300 block of West End Avenue at about 10:36 p.m. last night for a domestic disturbance.
While officers were on scene, another resident in the home alleged Walls was involved in suspicious narcotics activity.
The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) Hazmat Unit responded to the scene and located materials, chemicals and instruments consistent with a methamphetamine laboratory in both the basement of the residence and in a shed on the property.
The NJSP Hazmat Unit confirmed that Walls was in possession of all ingredients necessary to manufacture methamphetamine and found methamphetamine residue in chemistry-related glassware on site.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility and Narcotics Units and the Long Branch Police Department revealed that Walls had been in possession of books related to making methamphetamine, explosives, and poison.
Additionally, a large open and unsecured gun safe was in the home which was accessible to a child living in the residence.
Inside the gun safe were two long guns, four handguns, eight high-capacity magazines, and a large quantity of ammunition.
If convicted of Maintaining or Operating a CDS Production Facility, Walls faces a sentence of up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison.