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Rapper Fetty Wap arrested by FBI on federal drug charges

The artist, best known for 2014's "Trap Queen," pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail on Friday.
Image: Fetty Wap
Fetty Wap performs on stage at o2 Forum Kentish Town on Sept. 23, 2019 in London, England.Ollie Millington / Redferns - Getty Images file

Rapper Fetty Wap was arrested Thursday night by the FBI on federal drug charges, a senior law enforcement official said.

Fetty Wap, 30, whose legal name is Willie Junior Maxwell II, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail at a virtual hearing on Friday, The Associated Press reported. An attorney listed for him, Elizabeth Macedonio, did not immediately return a request for comment Friday evening.

According to the law enforcement official, the artist was arrested at Citi Field in Queens, where the Rolling Loud music festival was held Thursday.

The Paterson, New Jersey, rapper is among a half-dozen people charged in the case. The other defendants were identified Friday as New Jersey correction officer Anthony Cyntje, 23, of Passaic; Brian Sullivan, 26, of Lake Grove, New York; Kavaughn Wiggins, 26, of Coram, New York; Robert Leonardi, 26, of Levittown, Pennsylvania; and his brother Anthony Leonardi, 47, also of Coram.

They are all accused of running what prosecutors described as a "multimillion-dollar bicoastal drug distribution organization" with Suffolk County as their home base, county District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement.

According to an indictment, the organization ran from about June 2019 to June 2020. The defendants obtained narcotics on the West Coast and used the postal service and "drivers with hidden vehicle compartments" to transport the drugs to Suffolk County where they were stored, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The drugs were then allegedly distributed to dealers who sold them on Long Island and New Jersey. Five of the defendants are accused of using firearms to protect their drug organization and distribution chain, prosecutors said.

"As alleged, the defendants transported, distributed and sold more than 100 kilograms of deadly and addictive drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, on Long Island, deliberately contributing to the opioid epidemic that has devastated our communities and taken too many lives," said Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement.

"We will continue to work nonstop with our law enforcement partners to keep our neighborhoods safe from the scourge of dangerous drugs and gun violence."

Search warrants executed during the investigation recovered about $1.5 million in cash, 16 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of heroin, numerous fentanyl pills, two handguns, a rifle, a pistol, and ammunition.

Sullivan was arrested Sept. 30, while the other defendants were taken into custody in October. They have all been charged with conspiring to distribute and possess controlled substances. If charged, the defendants face a maximum of life in prison.

Navarro Gray, a lawyer for Fetty Wap, said: "We pray that this is all a big misunderstanding. ... Hoping he gets released so we can clear things up expeditiously."

Attorneys for most of the other defendants which had counsel listed in court records did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday night. An attorney for Cyntje said he "will vigorously defend these charges."

Fetty Wap was previously arrested in 2019 on three counts of battery, and in 2017 on a DUI charge after police say he was caught drag racing another car on a New York City highway. The status of those cases was not immediately clear Friday.

His 4-year-old daughter Lauren Maxwell died over the summer.

The rapper is best known for his 2014 sleeper hit, "Trap Queen," which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.