FREEHOLD — One of the men busted in the Monmouth County's "Operation Snowball" was already known to his New Jersey neighbors — as a successful competitor on ABC's Shark Tank.

John A. DePaola, 53, of Jackson was one of nine people police arrested last week in "Operation Snowball," an effort they said broke up a Freehold Borough cocaine distribution ring that moved one-third of a kilogram of cocaine weekly. Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced his arrest and eight others Friday.

Over 721 grams of cocaine and $14,943 were seized as part of the investigation of the ring, Gramiccioni said. Authorities say it was led by Hugo Hernandez in the downtown Freehold Borough area.

DePaola was charged with one count of third-degree conspiracy to possess cocaine.

He appeared on the show in 2014 during season 5 with his brother Sal DePaola and partner Anthony Caputo to present "The Paint Brush Cover" they said would allow storage of a paint-covered brush during a break without drying out for hours or days.

According to they accepted an offer from Lori Grenier to sell 10 per cent interest in their company for $200,000. She got the product into 2,000 Home Depot stores as well as Lowes, Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond stores thanks to a redesign of the product's packaging.

Since their appearance on the show, the brush has had sales of ore than $2 million and sold 250,000 units, according to the blog.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ


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