FTPD Officer Pleads Guilty To Heroin Possession, Will Leave PD

Matthew D. Ellery (Photo: Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.)

A Franklin Township police officer could avoid serving jail time for a guilty plea to possession of heroin and driving while intoxicated under a plea deal struck with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

Matthew D. Ellery, 29, a township police officer since 2018, plead guilty to the charges on July 12 to state Superior Court Judge Kevin Shanahan in Somerville.

Ellery is expected to be sentenced on Aug. 23. Under the plea deal, Ellery will leave the police department, enter a 5-year Somerset County Drug Court Program, his driver’s license will be suspended for 7 months and he will pay associated fines and penalties, according to a press release from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

Early in the morning of April 7, Ellery was found by another FTPD officer to be unconscious in his patrol car while it was parked in the driveway of the Puskas dairy farm on Bennetts Lane. The officer found Ellery after Ellery did not respond to calls from the FTPD dispatcher, and he was sent to Ellery’s last known location, according to the release.

The officer, also an EMT, saw that Ellery had no pulse and was not breathing, and recognized that Ellery had overdosed on an opiate, according to the release. The officer pulled Ellery out of his patrol car and administered two doses of Narcon, reviving Ellery, according to the release.

Ellery was then taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, by EMT personnel, according to the release.

If Ellery does not successfully complete the Drug Court, he faces sentencing for the charge of 3rd Degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, which carries a state jail term of three to five years, according to the release.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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