Press Release


For Immediate Release:
April 29, 2024

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced the arrest of 40-year-old CHRISTOPHER J. PEREZ of Cliffside Park, NJ on charges of narcotics possession and failure to report a fire. The arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit under the direction of Chief Matthew Finck and the Cliffside Park Police Department under the direction of Chief Marc Marano.

On Sunday, April 28, 2024, at approximately 10:35 a.m., the Cliffside Park Police Department and Fire Department responded to a fire that occurred at 238 Palisade Avenue, Apartment 8, in Cliffside Park. Following their initial response and fire suppression efforts, the Cliffside Park Police Department and Fire Department notified the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad that the fire appeared suspicious in nature. Detectives and arson investigators from the Prosecutor’s Office responded to the scene and initiated an investigation with the Cliffside Park Police Department.

The investigation revealed that the apartment was unoccupied at the time of fire suppression because the resident, CHRISTOPHER J. PEREZ, left the apartment after the fire spread and did not notify the authorities. While attempting to determine the origin and cause of the suspicious fire, investigators located a white powdery substance believed to be the narcotic known as “crack cocaine” inside the residence. The exact cause of the fire remains undetermined.

As a result of the investigation, on Sunday, April 28, 2024, CHRISTOPHER J. PEREZ was charged with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); fourth-degree endangering the life of another and failure to take responsible measure to put out or control a fire, N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1c(1); and possession with intent to use paraphernalia to inhale a control dangerous substance, N.J.S.A 2C:36-2, a disorderly persons offense. PEREZ was transported to Bergen New Bridge Medical Center for medical evaluation and will appear in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, NJ upon proper medical discharge.

Prosecutor Musella states that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He would like to thank the Cliffside Park Police Department, the Cliffside Park Fire Department and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance in this investigation, as well as the Northvale Police Department and the River Vale Police Department, which both participate in the Bergen County Arson Task Force.