2016-07-27 / Front Page

Dad, Son Guilty Of Corona Coke Connection Charges

By Liz Goff
It took a Brooklyn jury less than three hours on June 22 to convict a Corona father and son of smuggling 55 kilos of cocaine into the U.S. in two shipments of yucca, using their family-owned restaurant as a cover.

Family members sobbed, as a jurywoman in Brooklyn Federal Court read, “guilty,” on Friday, convicting Gregorio Gigliotti, 60, and his son Angelo, 36, of conspiracy to import cocaine.

Gregorio was also found guilty of weapons possession regarding seven guns recovered by federal agents in a safe in the basement of the family’s Cucino a Modo Mio restaurant in Corona. Angelo Gigliotti was acquitted of two gun charges that would have added five years to his sentence.

Federal prosecutors told the jury that in 2014, the father and son smuggled two shipments containing more than $1 million worth of cocaine inside boxes of yucca from Costa Rica, to a family-owned warehouse in The Bronx.

Federal agents busted the mob-connected duo in March 2015 and charged them with running the massive cocaine operation.

Prosecutors said Gregorio Gigliotti, his wife, Eleonora, and their son, Angelo, owned several businesses tied to drug-trafficking, including the pizza restaurant located on 108th Street, in the middle of the “Little Italy” section of Corona.

Court papers filed in the case allege that the Gigliotti’s are associates of an organized crime family in Italy and Gregorio is an associate of Genovese capo Anthony (Tough Tony) Federici, owner of the Park Side Restaurant, located in the same section of Corona.

Two months after the Gigliotti’s arrest, federal and Italian law enforcement agents arrested 13 people on charges linked to the Brooklyn case, for trafficking drugs from southern Italy.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents said beginning on or about September 16, 2012 to March 2014, the Gigliotti’s imported a total of 57 cargo containers of fresh cassava, a vegetable also commonly known as yucca, from Costa Rica.

Wiretaps obtained by federal agents revealed that Gregorio sent his wife and son to Costa Rica in August 2014 to deliver a suitcase filled with $400,000 in cash to a drug dealer who goes by the name “Armondo.”

Federal agents later seized yucca shipped by Gregorio in October and December 2014, one shipment containing 40 kilos of cocaine and another containing 15 kilos of cocaine, court papers said. The agents removed the 40 kilos of cocaine and left 1,200 containers of yucca onboard the shipment before forwarding it for delivery to the family’s Bronx warehouse, court papers said. .

Gregorio was later heard on the wiretaps discussing the missing cocaine with his contact in Costa Rica saying, “Things are bad,” the court papers said. He remained focused and arranged for another shipment a week later, the documents said.

Federal authorities said more than 30 federal agents raided the Corona pizzeria restaurant during business hours on March 11, 2015, where they seized $100,000 cash and the guns from the basement safe.

In April 2016, a federal judge ordered Eleonora Gigliotti, 66, to undergo competency testing that found her unfit to stand trial on the drug charges.

Angelo Gigliotti is facing a minimum of 20 years behind bars, bases on his criminal history. Gregorio Gigliotti is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

 

 

 

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