The embattled chief of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police was arrested when he showed up to collect a package that he thought was online-purchased cocaine, authorities said.
Investigators placed the imitation cocaine in the post office box of 43-year-old Michael Coppola, then stopped his car on Route 80 in Ridgefield Park and arrested him after he picked it up, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said.
Calo suspended Coppola for 90 days last month after a review turned up a host of violations, many that fell just short of being criminal.
Now Coppola, who lives in Totowa, is charged with attempting to possess cocaine and having drug paraphernalia.
He remained free pending further an Aug. 22 first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack after being processed on Thursday.
Coppola – who started his career with the PIP police as a dispatcher before rising through the ranks to become chief in 2014 – was “purchasing cocaine via the Internet” and having it shipped to a special post office box he used, Calo said.
The prosecutor thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Newark Division; the New Jersey Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.
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