DiTrapano arrested on crack cocaine charges in Florida

By Chris Dickerson | Mar 15, 2006

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

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 and three local individuals were arrested about 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at the St. Petersburg Hilton Hotel. The other three people -- Glinder Cecil, James D. Harper and James A. Lockett -- also were arrested for possession and a variety of 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. "There was 21 grams of powder cocaine. But not all of it was on his person. Only six pieces were on him.

"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, who went to college in Florida, 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 DiTrapano's firm of DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero.

"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 made a comment in the press release from the firm.

"We were saddened to learn today that our colleague, Dante DiTrapano, was arrested for possession of an illegal substance," DiPiero said. "Dante has been battling depression over two tragedies that occurred this past year. 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 Police Department said DiTrapano created a disturbance at his room, prompting the management to call police. Officers located the illegal drugs when they arrived at the rooms to investigate the call.

"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.

"The officers described her as having a blank and dazed expression," Kajtsa said.

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.

When Purdue Pharma settled McGraw's suit for $10 million in 2004, the outside attorneys received a third of the settlement -- $3,333,333.33. The attorneys and the firms split the fee into four equal portions - $833,333.33 each.

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. That figure represents nearly 15 percent of all the contributions McGraw received in that run, according to campaign financial statements filed with the state Secretary of State's office.

Dante and Teri DiTrapano each made the maximum $2,000 in contributions -- $1,000 for the primary election and $1,000 for the general election.

According to his firm's Web site, Dante DiTrapano received his Juris Doctorate Degree at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta in 1994 where he was first in his class and delivered the valedictory address at the commencement ceremony.

His undergraduate work was done at the University of Florida and West Virginia State College where he received his Bachelor's Science Degree in Criminal Justice in 1990. He began his college career at Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla., where he received his Associate's in Arts Degree in 1986.

DiTrapano also won the West Publishing Award for Academic Excellence and was lead attorney on the Trial Advocacy Team that was runner-up in the 1993 national competition. He is admitted to practice in West Virginia and Georgia. The Web site says his primary practice is representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases, although he has tried to verdict cases involving medical malpractice, product liability, premises liability, fraud, property damage and accident cases involving both personal and commercial vehicles.

The site says DiTrapano is responsible for the firm's Atlanta's office and has tried to verdict cases in state and federal courts in Georgia. His profile also says he has obtained large recoveries in injury and wrongful death cases in West Virginia, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, and South Carolina.

As Moss's agent, DiTrapano negotiated what was then the largest contract in the history of the NFL.

His profile also says DiTrapano is active in youth sports where he supports and participates in local football, basketball and baseball programs. He has five children.

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