Patriot Starter Served As DEA Informant

BOSTON (AP) -- A starting lineman for the New England Patriots worked as an informant for federal drug agents after he was arrested in New York on a charge of carrying the powerful painkiller oxycodone without a prescription, an attorney said.

Nicholas Kaczur, 28, wore a wire to help agents build a case against his alleged supplier, Daniel Ekasala, according to Ekasala's attorney.

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent said in an affadavit that a cooperating witness - whose name was not revealed - wore a recording device during three drug buys in May. In each of the deals, the witness bought 100 OxyContin pills from Ekasala for $3,900 in cash, the agent wrote.

Ekasala's lawyer, Bernard Grossberg, said Kaczur was that cooperating witness.

Kaczur denied to The Boston Globe that he participated in the investigation, telling the newspaper, "I don't know what you're talking about, bro."

Kaczur has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday. His agent, Vance Malinovic, did not return messages left by The Associated Press.

Stacey James, a spokesman for the Patriots, would not comment on Kaczur. She referred questions to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which declined to comment.

Ekasala, 34, was indicted Tuesday and remains free on an unsecured bond of $10,000. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to three counts of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute.

Ekasala was arrested May 13 after meeting the witness in a supermarket parking lot in Sharon and selling him 100 pills, according to the DEA affidavit.

Kaczur told the DEA he began purchasing OxyContin in November, getting 100 pills every few days, Grossberg said. The lawyer said he believes Kaczur inflated the quantity he bought to "increase his importance or usability to the DEA."

Ekasala, an unemployed construction worker and father of 2-year-old twins from Saugus, was sympathetic to Kaczur and somewhat in awe of him because of his status as a Patriots player, Grossberg said.

"As anybody who meets a professional athlete ... I think he became somewhat enamored by his contact with him, and was enticed to do certain things," Grossberg said.

Kaczur, who lives in Attleboro, was pulled over by state police in Whitestown, N.Y., on April 27, for driving 76 mph in a 65 mph zone. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, said Sgt. Kern Swoboda, a spokesman for the state police.

Kaczur was issued a summons to appear in court on May 12, but Swoboda did not know the current status of his case.

Kaczur, who was drafted by the Patriots in 2005, started 15 games last year.


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