Prosecutors in New Jersey say a 19-year veteran police officer has been arrested and charged for allegedly running a meth lab out of his Freehold home.
Christopher Walls, an officer with the Long Branch Police Department, has been charged with half a dozen criminal offenses including possession, manufacturing meth, and endangering the welfare of a child. He's since been suspended without pay by the department.
Monmouth County prosecutors announced the 50-year-old was at his home late Saturday when Long Branch police were called for reports of a domestic disturbance. Once officers arrived, a resident of the home reportedly told them that Walls was involved in illegal drug activity.
The New Jersey State Police Hazmat Unit was called to the home and discovered "materials, chemicals and instruments consistent with a methamphetamine laboratory" in the basement and a shed on the property, prosecutors said. The investigators also determined that Walls had books related to making meth, explosives and poison, they said.
Officers on scene Saturday night also recovered a stash of weapons left in open and unsecured safe, prosecutors said. Two long guns, four handguns, eight high-capacity magazines and lots of ammunition were reportedly recovered.
“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 Long Branch Police Chief Frank Rizzuto said.
Walls faces decades of prison time if convicted on the charges filed by prosecutors in Monmouth County. He was being held Sunday at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a detention hearing.
Contact information for his attorney was not immediately known.