FREEHOLD – A suspended Ocean Township police officer pleaded guilty Thursday admitting he unlawfully possessed Clenbuterol, a drug not approved for human use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but popular among human consumers as a weight loss supplement, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Ryan Vaccaro, 38, of Ocean Township, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol), before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas, as part of a plea agreement with this Office. During his plea, Vaccaro acknowledged that between May 1, 2018 and Feb. 19, 2019, he was knowingly in possession of five or more dosage units of Clenbuterol and that he did not have a lawful prescription for that substance.
Vaccaro was charged on February 19, 2019 with fourth degree Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug, second degree Possession with Intent to Distribute a Prescription Legend Drug, and second degree Distribution of a Prescription Legend Drug, as a result of an investigation connected to former Deal Police Officer Joseph Ammaturo, who entered a guilty plea last month. The investigation revealed that Ammaturo obtained three boxes of Astralean Clenbuterol containing approximately 150 pills from Vaccaro and that Ammaturo distributed two of those boxes to other individuals. The third box was ultimately recovered from Ammaturo’s residence. Additional Clenbuterol pills were found in Vaccaro’s residence during the execution of a search warrant.
Clenbuterol is a drug used to treat breathing disorders in animals and 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.
As part of his plea agreement, an order permanently barring Vaccaro from holding public office in New Jersey was entered and signed by Judge Lucas today. The plea agreement also permits Vaccaro to apply to the pre-trial intervention program.
“We will continue to prosecute law enforcement officers who fail to respect their responsibilities to the community and to their colleagues who put their lives on the line each and every day,” Gramiccioni said.
“I am pleased that this case has finally concluded and we as an organization can put this behind us. The Ocean Township Police Department is a highly professional and community-minded organization and we will not let the actions of a former police officer overshadow the great work and dedication by the men and women of this department,” said Ocean Township Police Chief Steven R. Peters.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 9, 2020, at which time Vacarro faces a probationary sentence.
The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit.
Vaccaro is represented by Richard E. Incremona, Esq., of Freehold.