N.Y. pizzeria owner gets 18 years prison in mafia-linked drug case

Gina Che­re­lus Reuters.com NEW YORK – A New York piz­ze­ria owner was sen­ten­ced on Tue­sday to 18 years in pri­son for traf­fic­king more than 50 kg (110 lb) of cocai­ne into the Uni­ted Sta­tes from Costa Rica, in a case born out of a pro­be into an Ita­lian orga­ni­zed cri­me group. Gre­go­rio Gigliot­ti, 61, and his son Ange­lo were con­vic­ted by a fede­ral jury in Broo­klyn in July of cri­mes inclu­ding con­spi­ra­cy to import cocai­ne. The elder Gigliot­ti was also found guil­ty of two firearms offen­ses. The pair were arre­sted in Mar­ch 2015, two mon­ths befo­re U.S. and Ita­lian autho­ri­ties said they arre­sted 13 peo­ple on rela­ted char­ges for taking part in a drug traf­fic­king ring in Italy's sou­thern Cala­bria region.

Cala­bria is home to Ndran­ghe­ta, Italy's riche­st and most power­ful cri­mi­nal orga­ni­za­tion, whi­ch U.S. autho­ri­ties say has con­duc­ted drug smug­gling and traf­fic­king in New York with mem­bers in Cala­bria and Toron­to, Cana­da. Fede­ral pro­se­cu­tors said Gigliot­ti and his son used their fami­ly-run Ita­lian restau­rant Cuci­no A modo Mio in Coro­na, Queens, as well as a pro­du­ce impor­ta­tion com­pa­ny, Fre­sh Farm Export Corp, to pro­vi­de cover for drug traf­fic­king for Ndran­ghe­ta. Gigliotti's son is awai­ting sen­ten­cing and faces a man­da­to­ry mini­mum sen­ten­ce of 20 years in pri­son. Gigliotti's wife Eleo­no­ra, who has admit­ted con­spi­ring to import cocai­ne, faces a mini­mum of five years behind bars, pro­se­cu­tors said. A law­yer for the elder Gigliot­ti did not imme­dia­te­ly respond to a reque­st for com­ment. Joe McMa­hon, an attor­ney for Gigliotti's son, said he was wor­king with U.S. autho­ri­ties to try to redu­ce his client's man­da­to­ry mini­mum sen­ten­ce.

Bet­ween Octo­ber and Decem­ber of 2014, poli­ce sei­zed appro­xi­ma­te­ly 55 kg (121 lbs) of cocai­ne that had been hid­den in card­board boxes con­tai­ning cas­sa­va and sent to the fami­ly by co-con­spi­ra­tors in Costa Rica. Also In U.S. Some of the drugs impor­ted to the Uni­ted Sta­tes were desti­ned to be expor­ted for distri­bu­tion in Ita­ly, accor­ding to pro­se­cu­tors. When Gigliot­ti and his son were arre­sted, poli­ce who sear­ched their restau­rant sei­zed items inclu­ding seven firearms, ammu­ni­tion, brass knuc­kles, and a hand­w­rit­ten led­ger listing tran­sac­tions of hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars.