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The Lieutenant did what?

Police lieutenant stole drugs from evidence room, New Jersey AG says

December 20th, 2023

A lieutenant from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office is being accused of removing narcotics evidence, including cocaine and fentanyl, from storage without lawful authorization and later returning the drugs but in "substantially different" conditions, officials said.

Kevin T. Matthew, 47, of Cedar Grove has been charged with official misconduct, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, and structuring financial transactions, the attorney general announced Tuesday.

The release from Attorney General Matthew Platkin also said the lieutenant had razor blades with cocaine residue in his office.

An investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability's Corruption Bureau revealed that Matthew allegedly entered police databases for drug cases and signed out narcotics from the main evidence vault of the Prosecutor's Office in Paramus.

Matthew reportedly had no authority to make the transactions because officials say he is part of the prosecutor's Special Victims Unit, not a narcotics unit. His job duties do not include access to narcotics evidence, officials said.

The attorney general's press release also said Matthew made a series of cash deposits at various financial institutions spread out across dates that match the period when the evidence was removed. The report said this pattern indicates "an intention to avoid the banks' federal requirement to report cash transactions in excess of $10,000 aggregated daily."

"As alleged, the defendant's conduct constitutes a shocking and brazen disregard of the law by a high-ranking officer who was sworn to uphold the law," Platkin said.

Thomas J. Eicher, executive director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, echoed the sentiments of the attorney general.

"The law applies to everyone, including those who wear the badge," Eicher said. "We are committed to strengthening the public's faith in law enforcement and in the criminal justice system, and to taking action against officers whose alleged conduct damages communities' trust and relationships with New Jersey's courageous, self-sacrificing men and women in uniform."

Matthew would face five to 10 years in state prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.

The attorney general's release said Matthew signed out narcotics evidence between October 2022 and November 2023. He has been on leave since Nov. 3.

Authorities said some items were returned to the vault in different conditions from when they were removed. The lieutenant said the evidence he returned was presented as exactly the same as the items he allegedly removed from storage.

This article originally appeared on Bergen County NJ lieutenant prosecutor faces multiple charges

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