New Jersey Cop Arrested on Drug and Weapons Charges for Allegedly Running Meth Lab In His Home: Police
Christopher Walls, a 19-year veteran of the Long Branch Police Department, was arrested by fellow officers who were responding to a domestic dispute call, authorities said.
A New Jersey police officer was arrested by colleagues who discovered a meth lab in his basement and a cache of weapons, prosecutors said.
Christopher Walls, 50, was taken into custody Sunday night by Long Branch Police officers responding to a domestic dispute call, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. Walls, a 19-year veteran of the department, is being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, the prosecutor's office told Inside Edition Digital on Monday.
A detention hearing is scheduled for May 26.
After arriving at Walls' home, officers were told by a resident that Walls was "involved in suspicious narcotics activity," Gramiccioni said. During a search, the New Jersey State Police Hazmat Unit found a meth lab in the basement of the house Walls shares with his wife and child, in the neighborhood he serves, authorities said.
“A very serious risk to public safety has been averted,” Gramiccioni said. "It is particularly distressing that this hazard was caused by a sworn law enforcement officer.”
Police also discovered an open gun safe with two long guns, four handguns, eight high-capacity magazines and a large quantity of ammunition that were accessible to the child, authorities said.
Walls was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, possession of a firearm during the course of a controlled substance offense, risking widespread injury, manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, the prosecutor said.
If convicted on all charges, Walls could face 60 years in prison, Gramiccioni said.
Walls has been suspended without pay, according to acting Long Branch Police Chief Frank Rizzuto.
"The officers in our agency risk their lives daily to protect and serve our residents," the chief said in a statement.
"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," Rizzuto said. "This officer's actions do not reflect the moral compass of our officers or this agency."
Manufacturing methamphetamine is extremely dangerous because the chemicals used to produce it are highly toxic and can easily explode. Inhaling fumes from meth production can cause severe lung damage or death, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Drug deaths have spiked during the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with fatalities caused by stimulants such as meth increasing by 34.8% in 2020, the agency reported.
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