Source: Fetty Wap’s Instagram
FBI operatives arrested on Thursday famous rapper Fetty Wap at Citi Field during a three-day Rolling Loud hip-hop music festival. The next day, he was charged with participating in a conspiracy to smuggle big amounts of fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs into New York City.
Born Willie Junior Maxwell II, the rapper’s name was previously blacked out in an indictment but was unredacted last Friday to include his name alongside five other defendants, including a New Jersey corrections officer. Maxwell was arraigned in a Long Island federal court last Friday afternoon, where the 30-year-old rapper pleaded not guilty during a virtual hearing. Maxwell’s lawyer Elizabeth Macedonio did not push for the possibility of bail. A prosecutor told a magistrate judge that a possible plea deal was in the making.
“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,” said Michael J. Driscoll, a top official with the FBI’s New York office, in a statement.
Maxwell’s co-defendants include 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.
According to prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York, Maxwell and his other companions distributed narcotics sometime between June 2019 and June 2020. If convicted, the prosecutors revealed that they could face a maximum of life imprisonment.
“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,” Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, revealed 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,” he added.
Through several search warrants throughout the course of the investigation, authorities were able to recover approximately $1.5 million in cash, 16 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of heroin, several fentanyl pills, two handguns, a pistol, a rifle, and several ammunitions.
Another lawyer representing Maxwell, Navarro Gray, said: “We pray that this is all a big misunderstanding. Hoping he gets released so we can clear things up expeditiously.”
The attorneys representing Maxwell’s co-accused did not give statements in defense of their respective clients except for Cyntje’s legal counsel, who said he “will vigorously defend these charges.”
Maxwell rose to stardom in May 2015 when his debut single “Trap Queen” landed on number 2 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. In the same year, the MTV Video Music Award named him Best New Artist. In 2016, he received the Billboard Music Award for Top New Artist. He also received the Best New Artist award from iHeartRadio Music Award.
He has had several incidents violating the law, including his last arrest in 2019 after allegedly assaulting three casino employees in Las Vegas. He was also arrested in 2017 and charged with DUI after he was seen drag racing in New York City.