Rapper Fetty Wap is facing federal drug charges, after prosecutors said he was involved in a cross-country drug smuggling ring, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced on Friday.
At his arraignment on Friday, Fetty Wap was apparently denied bail and was detained pending trial, WABC reported.
Prosecutors said that, if convicted, the “Trap Queen” rapper faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Police: Fetty Wap Was ‘Kilo-Level Distributor’
Fetty Wap, whose real name is William Junior Maxwell II, was named along with five others in an indictment unsealed in a federal court Friday. He was charged with conspiring to distribute and possess controlled substances in a drug ring that prosecutors say spanned across the country.
Five of the six men named on the indictment are also charged with using firearms in connection with drug trafficking, officials said, though it’s not clear if that includes Fetty.
Prosecutors alleged that Fetty Wap was a co-conspirator in a criminal scheme that ran “cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine” from west coast states to distribution networks in Long Island and Fetty’s native New Jersey.
According to the indictment, the men are accused of sourcing the drugs in California and smuggling them to the east coast through the U.S. Postal Service, and through couriers with “hidden vehicle compartments.”
After arriving in Long Island, prosecutors believe, the drugs were distributed to street-level dealers throughout New York and New Jersey.
Authorities said that four defendants — Anthony Leonardi, Robert Leonardi, Brian Sullivan, and Kavaughn Wiggins — are accused of running the smuggling side of the operation. Fetty Wap, prosecutors alleged, was a “kilo-level redistributor” in the scheme.
Also named in the indictment is Anthony Cyntje, a corrections officer at a New Jersey state prison, who prosecutors believe trafficked the drugs from Long Island into New Jersey.
‘Wholesale Drug Dealers’
Prosecutors said Friday that Fetty Wap’s alleged “pipeline of drugs” was responsible for bringing “more than 100 kilograms” of narcotics into the greater New York area.
“These defendants ran a multimillion-dollar bicoastal drug distribution organization with Suffolk County as their home base,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, whose office aided in the federal investigation. “They were wholesale drug dealers who pumped massive quantities of narcotics into our communities. As our investigation revealed, they would frequently use cutting agents to process just one of those kilograms of drugs into as many as four even before it was distributed to lower-level dealers, so the magnitude of this operation was enormous.”
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said that Fetty and the other defendants “deliberately contributing to the opioid epidemic that has devastated our communities and taken too many lives” by allegedly smuggling heroin and fentanyl.
Fetty Wap Could Face Life in Prison
Fetty Wap’s arrest is the latest in a string of high-profile personal tragedies for the artist. Earlier this year, his 4-year-old daughter died in unclear circumstances, and in 2020, his brother was shot and killed in their hometown of Patterson, New Jersey.
His attorney Navarro Grey has yet to make a public statement since the indictment was unsealed Friday morning. He told TMZ before then that he hoped “this is all a big misunderstanding,” and that he expected Fetty to be released after his arraignment, which did not happen.
Best known for his debut single “Trap Queen” that topped charts in 2015, the rapper was the last of the six men on the indictment to be arrested. His alleged co-conspirators were taken into custody earlier in the month.
In executing search warrants during the investigation, authorities said they uncovered “approximately $1.5 million in cash, 16 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of heroin, numerous fentanyl pills, two 9 mm handguns, a rifle, a .45-caliber pistol, a .40- caliber pistol, and ammunition.”
It’s not clear which of these items, if any, were seized from Fetty Wap personally.