Updated DiTrapano story for print

By The West Virginia Record | Mar 16, 2006

CHARLESTON – Charleston attorney Dante DiTrapano and his wife were arrested Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., and charged with possession of crack cocaine.

Dante and Teri DiTrapano were arrested about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Petersburg Hilton Hotel. Three local men also were arrested for possession and other charges.

"When we arrested him in the room, there were 73 pieces of crack cocaine," said George Kajtsa, a public information officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department, who also said there was 21 grams of powder cocaine.

"He said he was in the area for drug rehab. He said they were having one last party before he went into rehab."

All five were being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday evening. Bond for the DiTrapanos was set at $5,000 each.

DiTrapano, an attorney at DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero, had rented three rooms for a one-night stay at the hotel. He told investigators he is an agent for a number of NFL players. That includes Oakland Raiders wide receiver and Kanawha County native Randy Moss.

Moss issued a statement through Tim DiPiero, another attorney at the firm.

"Virtually everyone has a loved one, a family member or close friend, who finds himself or herself in trouble and needs help," Moss said. "You've got to support a friend who needs help and so I'm sticking by my friend and I'll support him and his family as he gets help battling his problem."

DiPiero also released a statement.

"Dante has been battling depression over two tragedies that occurred this past year," he said. "We don't know the facts of his arrest at this point, but we hope and pray that Dante will now get the help he needs."

The media release from the St. Petersburg PD said DiTrapano created a disturbance at his room, prompting the management to call police. Officers located the illegal drugs when they arrived.

"The room was full of paraphernalia and crack cocaine," Kajtsa said. "On the bed, on the bureau, on the table. They must have walked on some of it because it was crushed on the floor."

Kajtsa said officers found drugs and paraphernalia near Teri DiTrapano, but she told them it wasn't hers.

DiTrapano's firm is one used by Attorney General Darrell McGraw in a lawsuit against drug maker Purdue Pharma over alleged misrepresentation in marketing OxyContin pills.

Both DiTrapano and his wife also were among attorneys and family members of his firm who contributed at least $30,000 to McGraw's 2004 re-election campaign. They each made the maximum $2,000 in contributions.

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