FREEHOLD – Suspended Deal Police Officer Joseph Ammaturo is facing additional charges related to his December 2018 arrest for drug possession. The new charges pertain to the possession and distribution of Clenbuterol, which relate to pending charges against suspended Ocean Township Police Officer Ryan Vaccaro, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Ammaturo, 37, of Long Branch and a 14-year veteran of the Deal Police Department, is now facing additional charges of fourth degree Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol), second degree Possession with Intent to Distribute a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol), second degree Distribution of a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol), third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Testosterone Cypionate), and fourth degree Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug (Doxycycline). In December, Ammaturo was arrested 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.
These additional charges pertain to substances found in Ammaturo’s residence during the execution of a search warrant on the date of his arrest by members of this Office’s Professional Responsibility and Narcotics Units. While executing the search warrant, detectives seized a bottle containing a liquid identified as Testosterone Cypionate; a box of approximately 50 tablets determined to contain Astralean Clenbuterol; and a bottle containing approximately 464 capsules of Doxycycline. The investigation revealed that Ammaturo obtained three boxes of Astralean Clenbuterol containing approximately 150 pills from Vaccaro and that he distributed two of those boxes to other individuals. The third box is believed to be the one recovered from Ammaturo’s residence in December of 2018.
Clenbuterol is used to treat breathing disorders in animals, but is not approved for human use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is popular among human consumers as a weight loss supplement despite its banned status.
Testosterone Cypionate is an anabolic steroid used to treat low testosterone levels in men and is also used in hormone therapy for transgender men.
Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections and is approved for use in treating exposure to anthrax.
“Law enforcement officers are sworn to uphold the law and it is a breach of the public’s trust when they violate their oath. This office will aggressively pursue and prosecute any officers who cross that line,” said Prosecutor Gramiccioni.
“Joseph Ammaturo’s alleged conduct has been an embarrassment to this department and the law enforcement community as a whole. We do not tolerate or condone his alleged behavior. In no way does the conduct of this one individual reflect the professionalism and dedication our officers show each and every day,” said Deal Police Chief Ronen Neuman.
Vaccaro was charged in February with fourth degree Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol), second degree Possession with Intent to Distribute a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol), and second degree Distribution of a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol). He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of this case.
“We are shocked, embarrassed and angered by the conduct of Officer Vaccaro. The Ocean Township Police Department is a highly professional and community-minded organization and we will not let the actions of one officer overshadow its great work. I apologize to our residents that one of our own has brought such shame to the department, the Township and our law enforcement profession,” said Ocean Township Police Chief Steven R. Peters.
The charges against Ammaturo and Vaccaro are awaiting presentment to a grand jury.
The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with any pertinent information is urged to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Daniel Newman at 732-431-7160, ext. 7167.
If convicted of a second degree crime, each officer faces five to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison. The third-degree crimes carry a maximum prison term of five years in state prison. Fourth degree crimes carry a potential prison sentence of up to 18 months.
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.