DANBURY — A Newtown man, who is a former National Football League player, pleaded not guilty on June 17 in Danbury Superior Court to two counts of illegal sale of narcotics. Those charges stem from a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation into the man’s alleged sale of potent prescription painkillers at his home in April and May.
In his arraignment in Courtroom 2 at the White Street courthouse, Gennaro L. DiNapoli, 39, of White Oak Farm Road, Newtown, pleaded not guilty to both charges and also elected to have a jury trial.
Danbury attorney Gerald Hecht is representing Mr DiNapoli, who remains free on $150,000 bail. Mr DiNapoli is scheduled to return to court on July 1.
Mr Hecht spoke on behalf of Mr DiNapoli during the brief arraignment.
On May 30, DEA agents, assisted by Newtown police, charged Mr DiNapoli, arresting him on a warrant listing the two criminal offenses.
Authorities allege that Mr DiNapoli sold the painkillers at his home to an unidentified person working on behalf of the DEA.
Newtown police have had no comment on the arrest, referring questions on the matter to the DEA.
Also, on May 30, the DEA executed a search-and-seizure warrant at Mr DiNapoli’s home, confiscating a variety of items that will be the subject of forensic study in the ongoing drug investigation.
According to court records, the DEA agents seized items including five shotguns, two rifles, four handguns, numerous boxes of assorted ammunition in various calibers, loaded and unloaded ammunition magazines, a cellphone, eight assorted pharmaceutical bottles containing pills for Mr DiNapoli and another person, a box of lidocaine patches, and miscellaneous financial paperwork.
Asked to comment on the pending charges against Mr DiNapoli, Mr Hecht said, “We’re at the early stages” of the case.
The lawyer said he will be studying the court documents which allege criminal activity by his client in researching the case.
According to the court papers, the DEA is seeking to stem the rise of prescription narcotic abuse in the state through various drug enforcement projects.
DEA agents contacted Middlebury police and learned of a large amount of prescription narcotic abuse in that town and surrounding towns. Middlebury police told the DEA agents that prescription narcotic abuse among younger people in Middlebury has been getting progressively worse during the past several years and has led to an increase in burglaries and larcenies there.
A “cooperating source” was then found to purchase prescription narcotics as part of the DEA’s drug enforcement.
Through that person, the DEA learned that Mr DiNapoli was selling 30-milligram oxycodone pills at his Newtown residence, according to the court papers.
In April, the source made a “controlled purchase” of 160 oxycodone pills for $3,000 from Mr DiNapoli at his home, according to the court documents. In May, the source made a similar purchase of 170 oxycodone pills for $3,200 from Mr DiNapoli there, the documents state.
The source used a hidden audio recorder during the transactions to collect evidence, according to the court papers. DEA agents documented the drug purchases for use as evidence in the prosecution of Mr DiNapoli.
Mr DiNapoli played as a football lineman for the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Dallas Cowboys. He played in the NFL from 1998 to 2004. He played college football for Virginia Tech. Mr DiNapoli was drafted in the fourth round of the 1998 NFL draft.