A former North Jersey police chief has been indicted on charges of drug possession and distribution after his arrest last August for allegedly trying to buy cocaine online and have it shipped to a local post office box, according to court records.
A grand jury in December returned a six-count indictment of Michael Coppola, 43, of Totowa that includes third-degree charges of cocaine possession, cocaine distribution, attempted possession of a controlled dangerous substance and MDMA possession, the records show. His next court appearance will be March 11 in state Superior Court in Hackensack, an administrator said.
At the time of his arrest, Coppola was the suspended chief of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department. He resigned less than a week later.
Timothy Smith, Coppola’s Fairfield-based attorney, said in a statement that the state should consider his client’s long and distinguished career as it approaches the case.
“Society in general, and more specifically the citizens of Bergen County, have benefited greatly from Chief Coppola’s devotion to the public good,” Smith wrote.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment Tuesday.
Coppola’s grip on his chief’s star appeared tenuous even before his arrest.
He was suspended without pay for three months last July after the Prosecutor’s Office released a damning report detailing his officers’ many violations of state attorney general guidelines on police chases, among other things.