NEW YORK (AP) – A detective who tested positive for drugs has given police brass an unusual explanation: His wife slipped him a helping of meatballs spiked with marijuana.

Maybe it’s not so far-fetched.

An administrative judge recommended earlier this week that Anthony Chiofalo be reinstated, agreeing that he had indeed ingested the drugs involuntarily.

Despite the ruling, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly still has the authority to fire Chiofalo. That decision is pending.

“We can’t comment because the matter will still come before the police commissioner for a final determination,” said Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman.

A call to Chiofalo’s attorney was not immediately returned. The president of the Detectives Endowment Association, Mike Palladino, declined comment.

Chiofalo, a 22-year-veteran assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, was suspended without pay last year after a random drug test given to all ranks in the department found marijuana in his system, officials said. The officer denied ever using drugs and demanded a hearing.

During an investigation, his wife confessed that she had served him meatballs using a recipe substituting marijuana for oregano. Her purpose, she said, was to keep him out of harm’s way by forcing him into retirement.

She later repeated her story at a departmental hearing, officials said. Her husband’s lawyers also presented evidence that she had passed a lie-detector test, and offered expert testimony from a toxicologist that the excuse was valid.

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