Gregorio Gigliotti was sentenced to 18 years behind bars on Tuesday for narcotics trafficking and firearm offenses. The 61-year-old man used his family’s Queens-based Italian restaurant as a front for importing 55 kilos of cocaine from Costa Rica hidden among produce. Gigliotti’s operation was allegedly linked to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, one of Italy’s most dominant Mafia groups.
Both Gigliotti and his son Angelo were found guilty following a two-week trial in the summer of 2016. A jury ruled they participated “in a long-running cocaine importation scheme” and also that Gregorio Gigliotti was guilty of “unlawfully possessing firearms – including a defaced firearm – in furtherance of the drug-trafficking operation.”
Gigliotti’s wife Eleonora was also involved in the coke trafficking and subsequently pleaded guilty in January 2017 to conspiring to import cocaine. Angelo and Eleonora are awaiting sentencing and face mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years and 5 years.
The family-run cocaine racket was busted up thanks to the cooperation of the FBI and ICE in the United States along with members of law enforcement in Italy. Between October and December 2014, authorities intercepted and seized approximately 55 kilograms of cocaine that had been hidden inside cardboard boxes that contained cassava and was sent from co-conspirators in Costa Rica to the Grigliottis in New York.
To facilitate their operation, they used their Italian restaurant in Corona, Queens, called Cucino Amodo Mio, as well as a produce importation company, Fresh Farm Export Corp., that was incorporated in 2012 to provide a cover for their drug trafficking operation.
When federal agents raided Cucino Amodo Mio on March 11, 2015, they recovered one 12 gauge shotgun; one loaded .357 magnum Trooper revolver; one loaded .22 caliber Colt pistol; one loaded .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver; one 9 mm Keltec pistol; one .762 Czech pistol; one .38 caliber Derringer that had a defaced serial number; ammunition magazines; loose ammunition; two handgun holsters; brass knuckles; a handwritten ledger showing the movement of more than $350,000; and more than $100,000 in cash.
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