Former 'Shark Tank' Contestant Arrested for Alleged Role in Cocaine Ring: Cops

Shark Tank contestant in hot water
John DePaola was arrested Sunday in what prosecutors have called a cocaine-distribution ring in the Freehold, N.J., area. (Office of the Monmouth County Prosecutor)

A man who once had a successful appearance on the show Shark Tank has been accused of playing a role in a New Jersey drug ring.

John DePaola was arrested Sunday in what prosecutors have called a cocaine-distribution ring in the Freehold area.

The 53-year-old appeared on a 2014 episode of the ABC series, in which aspiring business owners pitch products and services to potential investors.

His paint brush cover company attracted a $200,000 investment from Shark Tank investor and co-host Lori Greiner.

DePaola was one of nine people who were arrested as part of the sting, which authorities dubbed "Operation Snowball."

The group was moving approximately one-third of a kilogram of cocaine a week, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

DePaola is charged with one count of third-degree conspiracy to possess cocaine.

His attorney, Herbert Ellis, told The Associated Press that the charge is "baffling" and "without merit."

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