A former contestant on ABC's "Shark Tank" is facing charges that he belonged to a New Jersey cocaine-distribution ring.
John DePaola was among nine defendants arrested Sunday. The Monmouth County prosecutor said Monday that the group distributed cocaine in the Freehold area.
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DePaola is charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine. His lawyer, Herbert Ellis, calls the charge "baffling" and "without merit." He says that DePaola is not a "druggie" or a drug dealer.
The 53-year-old Jackson resident appeared on a 2014 episode of "Shark Tank." His company, which sells paint brush covers, attracted a $200,000 investment from "Shark Tank" personality Lori Greiner.
DePaola and his business partners said in a follow-up segment that their product landed in 14,000 stores nationwide, with $1.5 million in sales.