Drug paraphernalia, guns, ammo seized in DiTrapano search

By Chris Dickerson | Apr 12, 2006

Dante DiTrapano CHARLESTON – Federal, state and local agents confiscated guns, ammunition, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia and other personal items during a six-hour search of Charleston attorney Dante DiTrapano's home last week.

Dante DiTrapano

Police vehicles surround the Charleston home of attorney Dante DiTrapano on April 6.

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CHARLESTON – Federal, state and local agents confiscated guns, ammunition, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia and other personal items during a six-hour search of Charleston attorney Dante DiTrapano's home last week.

More than 15 members of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Metro Drug Unit, Charleston Police Department and the State Police took part in the search April 6 at DiTrapano's home at 1340 Johnson Road in the South Hills section of Charleston.

Officers seized three crack cocaine pipes, a piece of something they suspect is crack cocaine, a plastic bag of off-white chunks and residue and several items with white residue, including two metal spoons, a knife, a screwdriver and a laptop computer.

Agents also found miscellaneous white particles in the rug in the master bedroom and a ratchet with a Chor-Boy inside the end. A ratchet pipe with a Chor-Boy, which is steel wood pad, essentially is a homemade crack pipe, according to authorities.

Also confiscated were three 9 mm pistols, two .32 magnum revolvers, a .380 pistol, a .35 revolver, several boxes of ammo and gun boxes.

Other items taken were a phone bill, a handwritten letter and a blue diary of Teri DiTrapano, Dante DiTrapano's wife. The diary was dated Feb. 3, 2006. The last entry was dated April 4.

The federal search warrant, which was unsealed this week, says the items were inventoried in the presence of Teri DiTrapano.

Dante and Teri DiTrapano were arrested March 14 at the St. Petersburg Hilton Hotel and charged with possession of crack cocaine. Both of them were released on bond from Pinellas County Jail.

The couple, as well as three individuals from the area -- Glinder Cecil, James D. Harper and James A. Lockett -- also were arrested for possession and a variety of other charges.

Officials said there were 73 pieces of crack cocaine and 21 grams of powder cocaine in the room when the arrests occurred. Dante DiTrapano, an attorney at DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero, told officers he and the others were having one last party before he entered a drug rehab facility there.

Teri DiTrapano had a $5,000 bond posted for her by a bondsman on March 16. Dante DiTrapano had his $5,000 bond posted March 17 on the condition that he be taken for treatment. He was released to HealthCare Connections of Tampa.

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.

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.

DiTrapano was arrested again March 26 in Pinellas County, Fla., on a warrant for failing to appear at a motion hearing in connection with the crack cocaine charges.

DiTrapano was in the intensive care unit of a Tampa hospital late in March, but a spokeswoman there last week said that DiTrapano no longer was a patient there.

DiTrapano, who represents NFL giant and Rand native Randy Moss, is a partner in the law firm of DiTrapano, Barrett and DiPiero. In recent weeks, however, DiTrapano's name has been taken off a sign outside the law firm's downtown office and his biography and information has been removed from the firm's Web site.

Representatives of DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero, DiTrapano's firm, did not return calls seeking comment and more information Wednesday. DiTrapano's profile no longer is on the firm's Web site and his name has been removed from the sign outside the firm's Charleston office. Robert Heyman, DiTrapano's attorney in Florida, also didn't return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Tracey Dorsey-Chapman, spokeswoman for the Southern District U.S.Attorney's Office, said Wednesday her office has no comment on the search or the search warrant.

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.

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