Local Shark Tank Celebrity Business Owner Caught in Freehold Drug Ring Bust

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FREEHOLD-The owner of a company who landed a $200,000 deal on the television show Shark Tank for an ingenious, but simple paint brush cover found himself in hot water this week, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

John DePaola, the brains behind the “Paint Brush Cover”, which made its debut on national television on the ABC series Shark Tank was arrested during a cocaine distribution ring operation by Monmouth County law enforcement officials.

John DePaolo, photo courtesy of Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

It was on Shark Tank where investor Laurie Greiner offered DePaola and his partners a $200,000 investment to bring his product to national retailers including Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, Ace and Lowe’s.

After Shark Tank, the company grew to 18 employees and claim to have grossed over $2 million in the following year.

According to Gramiccioni, DePaola was nabbed as part of a sting dubbed “Operation Snowball” which shut down a narcotics distribution operation out of Freehold.  Authorities acted on four warrants in Freehold and one in New Brunswick on Thursday.

In that raid, law enforcement arrested the drug ring leaders Hugo Hernandez and Carlos Hernandez-Campo.  The prosecutor’s office said DePaola was arrested on a  third degree consipiracy to possess cocaine charge.  He could face a fine of up to $35,000 if convicted.

“Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law,” said Charles Webster, spokesperson for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office who issued a press release to the media.