NORWALK, Conn. -- A Norwalk firefighter dealt drugs while on duty, according to Norwalk Police, who arrested him Thursday afternoon as he sold cocaine to an undercover officer.
Mark W. Monroe, 45, of 4 June Ave., is also facing weapons charges after officers discovered a loaded .45-caliber handgun on top of a dresser in his bedroom that wasn't safely stored and could be accessed by minor children in the home, police said.
Norwalk police Lt. James Walsh said the investigation began several months ago and targeted Monroe after they received information about his activities.
Monroe said nothing during his appearance in court and briefly acknowledged his upset wife, who was sitting by herself in the courtroom. She threw her arms in the air when she heard that his court appearance would be recorded by News 12. A motion by Monroe's lawyer, Michael Corsello, to prohibit the recording was rejected by Judge Alex Hernandez.
Monroe was arrested at an undisclosed Main Avenue location Thursday afternoon where he sold the officer three packages of cocaine weighing about 3.8 grams each, Walsh said. He was arrested without incident at the scene.
During the investigation, Monroe sold cocaine to the undercover officer on four separate occasions, police said. Two of the four transactions were conducted by Monroe when he was on duty as a Norwalk firefighter, police said.
Monroe directed the undercover officer to the rear lot of the Volk Central Fire Station at 121 Connecticut Ave., where he conducted the transactions, police said. The other two transactions were conducted by Monroe at retail location parking lots on New Canaan Avenue and West Avenue, police said.
Norwalk Fire Chief Lawrence Reilly said Monroe is on paid administrative leave from the department. That two of the alleged drug deals occurred in the parking lot of the central fire station — where the fire department's administration is based —was upsetting, Reilly said.
During the court appearance, Corsello said Monroe — a 10-year firefighter — was amenable to seeking help for substance abuse issues. He also told the court that Monroe was born and raised in Norwalk and his family still reside there.
A search warrant was executed at Monroe's residence, where investigators recovered five additional bags of cocaine weighing a total of 12.35 grams, police said. Officers also seized five Alprazolam pills, 152 Cialis pills, and 21 pills with no markings, police said. The pills were not stored in their proper containers, and appear to have been illegally obtained controlled prescription pills, police said. Officers also recovered 11 vials of suspected steroids, and 300 hypodermic needles, police said.
The weapon was seized and secured for safekeeping at Norwalk Police headquarters, police said. Monroe has a valid State of Connecticut permit to possess the firearm.
In addition to the narcotic charges, Monroe was charged with risk of injury to a minor and failing to responsibly store a firearm.
During the search of his vehicle, eight additional prescription pills (Alprazolam, Oxycodone, and Amphetamine) were located, police said. None of these were found in their proper containers, police said. Additionally, another bag of cocaine weighing 3.8 grams was located, police said.
A third search warrant was executed at his personal locker located at Volk Central Fire House, but no contraband was located there, police said.
His original bond of $150,000 was reduced to $60,000 following his appearance in arraignment court. He returns to court Feb. 24.