DiTrapano waives preliminary hearing, was cited with meth possession

By Chris Dickerson | Apr 11, 2007


CHARLESTON – Dante DiTrapano waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday in U.S. Magistrate Court, setting up a hearing next week on his violation of terms of his supervised release.

DiTrapano briefly appeared in court Wednesday, conferring with attorney Michael Del Guidice before waiving his right to the hearing to determine if there was probable cause to move the case forward.

DiTrapano was cited April 1 with simple possession of methamphetamine, according to a Charleston Police Department report.

DiTrapano surrendered to U.S. Marshals on April 8 in Charleston after he had been wanted on charges that he violated terms of his release following a conviction last year on federal firearms charges.

His next hearing is scheduled for April 17 in Bluefield, but Del Guidice said that might be moved to April 18 in Charleston. Del Guidice also said if DiTrapano is found guilty, he faces up to a two-year sentence, with 3-9 months being the most likely.

DiTrapano, who had his law license suspended last year, had a warrant issued for his arrest by a U.S. District judge on April 4, according to a deputy U.S. Marshal. He turned himself in April 8 to members of the CUFFED Fugitive Task Force, which is comprised of deputy U.S. Marshals, Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies and members of several other state and local agencies.

DiTrapano contacted the U.S. Marshals office Monday afternoon and said he wanted to turn himself in, according to Deputy Chris Lair. Authorities then picked DiTrapano up at a relative's home in Charleston, Lair said.

In the April 1 police report, Patrolman Justin A. Hackney said he saw DiTrapano and a black man in front of an apartment building in the 200 block of Beauregard Street on Charleston's West Side. Then, the pair of men entered the building with Hackney following.

After finding the men and talking to them, Hackney reports that he suspected DiTrapano "was on some type of narcotic," so he asked him to remove his sunglasses.

"When he removed his glasses, I noticed that his eyes where fixed and very restricted, a sign that he may be on a narcotic," Hackney wrote.

Then, Hackney patted DiTrapano down and found what he suspected was a crack pipe in his rear pocket.

"He began to sweat and shake," Hackney wrote. After more questioning, Hackney said DiTrapano "became increasingly nervous. I could see his heart beating through his shirt."

Upon further inspection, Hackney said he found a tissue with a crack pipe and a plastic bag with a white powder residue inside.

After more police arrived, Hackney went inside the apartment building and found a folded Powerball lottery ticket with what appeared to be less than a gram of meth inside.

DiTrapano told Hackney the substance was his and that he had just bought it at an apartment on Shelton Avenue from four black men 20 minutes earlier.

"I asked (DiTrapano) what the substance was, and he stated it was cocaine," Hackney wrote. "I informed him that it looked like meth. He stated it could be, but he was not sure."

The man Hackney found with DiTrapano told another officer that DiTrapano had offered him $20 to let him in the apartment to smoke the substance.

DiTrapano's recent string of troubles began last March when he and his wife Teri were arrested at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Hilton 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, also was 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 told officers he and the others were having one last party before he entered a drug rehab facility there.

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.

In April, federal, state and local agents confiscated guns, ammunition, prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia and other personal items during a six-hour search of the DiTrapano home.

In early June, DiTrapano was cited with four driving related charges after a State Trooper pulled him over near St. Albans because of an expired state inspection sticker and an expired registration. DiTrapano also couldn't produce proof of insurance or a current operator's license because it already had been suspended. And DiTrapano already had been convicted of driving suspended on Nov. 21, 2005.

In July, DiTrapano pleaded guilty to a federal drug and weapons charge and was ordered into a drug treatment facility until his sentencing. DiTrapano pleaded guilty to a charge that he was a drug addict in possession of firearms, which is a violation of federal law.

After pleading guilty before going to rehab, DiTrapano paid a $10,000 bond and signed court documents agreeing to, among other things, not possess firearms or weapons, not to travel outside the Southern District of West Virginia. He also agreed to submit to random urine tests.

In September, DiTrapano's bond was revoked after an Aug. 29 urine specimen tested positive for cocaine. Just before that, DiTrapano had been put back in jail after violating terms of his home confinement. That was after federal probation officers filed a petition showing DiTrapano violated the home confinement conditions of his bond at least 12 times in the 12 days since he was released from a Huntington drug rehabilitation center.

In January, DiTrapano was arrested again on the day he was scheduled to be released from prison. DiTrapano, who was finishing a sentence on a federal firearms conviction, was arrested on Georgia fugitive charges. In June, Magistrate Mary Stanley revealed that DiTrapano had been arrested in Georgia in April on charges of felony cocaine and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

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