Report: ‘Shark Tank’ Contestant Arrested in a Cocaine Ring Bust

Project Casting

A man who once competed on the ABC reality TV series Shark Tank was arrested last week in a drug sweep that took down nine members of a cocaine-distribution ring in New Jersey, NJ.com reports.

John DePaola was charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine in the drug swap, which also led to the arrest of alleged ringleader Hugo Hernandez.

According to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the arrests took place following a nine-month investigation called Operation Snowball.

Prosecutors said that the ring was “moving approximately one-third of a kilogram of cocaine a week,” and that the investigation led to the seizure of more than 721 grams of cocaine as well as $14,943.

DePaola competed on Shark Tank in 2014 and he was looking for an investor for a cover that protects wet paint brushes from dying out, according to NJ.com. He would ultimately land a $200,000 deal from shark Lori Grenier.

Describing his client as a “highly regarded individual in the community,” DePaola’s lawyer, Herbert Ellis, called the charge “a mistake.”

See DePaola make his “Shark Tank” pitch in the video.


What do you think? Discuss this story with fellow Project Casting fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @projectcasting.