It was a tough day for father and son Gigliotti this Friday when a jury convicted them of trafficking over 50 kilos of cocaine into the United States in shipments of yucca. The pair used their Italian restaurant in Queens as cover for the smuggling operation.
60-year-old Gregorio was found guilty on all counts including possession of seven firearms found in a safe in the basement of Gregorio’s Cucino a Modo Mio restaurant, the New York Daily News reported. His 36-year-old son Angelo was acquitted of the gun charges.
Both men were caught red-handed as authorities accumulated a wealth of evidence based on intercepted phone calls in which they discussed the drug shipments coming in from Costa Rica, a country long used by New York’s five Mafia families as a center for its offshore gambling operations.
The Gigliottis used code words such as “pineapples” and “kitchens” to communicate about their illicit product.
When the men were arrested, prosecutors and media made no secret of the role the Calabrian Mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, played in this drug pipeline. The ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed the Sicilian Mafia as Italy’s premier organized crime group thanks to its connections to South American drug cartels.
As is befitting of a secretive criminal organization such as the ‘Ndrangheta, they were never discussed during the trial of father and son Gigliotti. The defense no doubt opting they stood a better chance if the mere mention of these links was left out.
Unfortunately, it proved to be insufficient as both father and son were found guilty. Gregorio Gigliotti faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years behind bars, while his son Angelo faces a mandatory 20 years locked in a cell due to his criminal record.
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