Rap star Fetty Wap, N.J. CO charged in massive drug distribution ring takedown

“The fact that we arrested a chart-topping rap artist and a corrections officer illustrates just how vile the drug trade has become"

By Joe Atmonavage
NEW YORK — The prominent New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap and a state correctional officer were charged with others in a drug distribution ring that allegedly distributed more than 100 kilograms of narcotics across Long Island and New Jersey, according to a federal indictment unsealed in New York Friday.

Six people, including William Junior Maxwell II, also known as Fetty Wap, and Anthony Cyntje, a 23-year-old New Jersey correctional officer, were charged by federal authorities out of the Eastern District of New York with conspiring to distribute and possess controlled substances.

Fetty Wap, of Paterson, was arrested Thursday at Citi Field, according to a law enforcement source.

Rapper Fetty Wap performs in concert at Pier 36 on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, in New York.
Rapper Fetty Wap performs in concert at Pier 36 on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)

“The pipeline of drugs in this investigation ran thousands of miles from the West Coast to the communities here in our area, contributing to the addiction and overdose epidemic we have seen time and time again tear people’s lives apart,” Michael J. Driscoll, the FBI assistant director-in-charge said in a statement. “The fact that we arrested a chart-topping rap artist and a corrections officer as part of the conspiracy illustrates just how vile the drug trade has become.”

According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly distributed more than 100 kilograms of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine across Long Island and New Jersey from June 2019 to June 2020.

Fetty Wap allegedly was a “kilogram-level redistributor” for the trafficking organization as the drugs were obtained on the West Coast and brought back to the New Jersey region, according to the indictment.

The drugs were then distributed to individuals who sold the controlled substances on Long Island and in New Jersey, authorities said. Cyntje, of Passaic, allegedly transported kilograms of cocaine from Long Island to New Jersey, according to the indictment.

Authorities executed search warrants as part of their investigation and recovered approximately $1.5 million in cash, 16 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of heroin, numerous fentanyl pills, four firearms and ammunition.

Fetty Wap was the last defendant to be arrested in the case and will be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke Friday afternoon.

“We pray that this is all a big misunderstanding,” Navarro Gray, Fetty Wap’s attorney, said in a statement. “We are hoping he gets released so we can clear things up expeditiously.”

Cyntje, the correctional officer, was also charged by local authorities in New York last year with participating in narcotics trafficking operation. In the new federal case, he also faces a charge of using firearms in connection with drug trafficking.

Cyntje appeared before a federal judge earlier this month and was ordered held without bail pending the outcome of the case.

Cyntje worked as a correctional officer at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton and made $40,000 annually as of 2020, according to public records, though it is unclear if he is still employed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC). A DOC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The others named in the unsealed indictment are Anthony Leonardi, 47, of Coram, New York, Robert Leonardi, 26, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, Brian Sullivan, 26, of Lake Grove, New York, and Kavaughn L. Wiggins, also known as “KV,” 26, of Coram, New York.

The charges come as Fetty Wap released his newest mixtape “Butterfly Effect,” according to Complex. The mixtape pays tribute to his 4-year-old daughter who died in June.

The Paterson rapper broke onto the scene in 2015 with the hit “Trap Queen” and is a two-time Grammy nominee. He’s known for his flashy persona in which he previously brought $165,000 in cash to a New Jersey court appearance to pay a $360 fine and handing out cash to children in Hackensack. In a video last year he boasted about owning 37 cars, 10 houses, 14 apartments and $2.5 million in jewelry.

But he has also had some run-ins with law enforcement.

In 2017, he was arrested for drunk driving and drag racing in Brooklyn. He later pleaded guilty and avoided jail time. That same year, a feud between Fetty Wap and another local rapper in New Jersey led to gunfire in Paterson in which three people were injured. In 2019, he was arrested for allegedly assaulting staff at a Las Vegas hotel.

Last year, Fetty Wap’s brother, who he called his “twin,” was killed after being struck by gunfire in their hometown.

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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