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July 25, 2016New York, NY, United StatesNarcotics

Father and son convicted for participating in a transnational cocaine trafficking

NEW YORK — A father and son were convicted Friday for their involvement in a transnational cocaine trafficking operation stretching from Italy, to Queens and to Costa Rica.  The conviction stems from a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), the FBI and the Italian National Police (INP).

Following a two week trial, a federal jury found Gregorio, 60, and Angelo Gigliotti, 36, guilty for their involvement trafficking cocaine through multiple countries. Gregorio Gigliotti was also convicted of possessing a stash of firearms in connection with the operation.

“This family run business served more than just pizza to its customers, using store fronts like a pizzeria to import large amounts of cocaine,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “Like father like son, both of these defendants will likely be spending the next several years in jail.”

“This case serves as a powerful example of the impact of international cooperation in combatting criminal organizations whose activities transcend national borders,” said Robert L. Capers, United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

According to the investigation, Gregorio Gigliotti, together with his wife, owned and operated several businesses in New York City that were used to facilitate their narcotics-trafficking operation, including Cucino Amodo Mio, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Corona, Queens, and Fresh Farm Produce Export Corp., an import company. Their son, Angelo Gigliotti, handled the drug trafficking operation when Gregorio was out of the country. In October 2014, law enforcement intercepted a shipment of cassava (a starchy root also referred to as yucca) that was shipped to the United States from Costa Rica and bound for Fresh Farm Produce Export Corp., in New York. The shipment contained approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine secreted inside cardboard boxes of cassava. Earlier, Gigliotti’s wife traveled to Costa Rica with more than $360,000 in cash that she delivered to the sources of supply.

In December 2014, law enforcement intercepted a second shipment of cassava bound for Fresh Farm Produce Export Corp. in New York that had also been shipped from Costa Rica and seized approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine secreted within the cardboard boxes of the produce.

Federal agents arrested the Gigliotti’s on March 11, 2015, in New York. That same day, law enforcement searched Cucino Amodo Mio as well as Gregorio and his wife’s residence. In the restaurant they seized one 12 gauge shotgun, one loaded .357 magnum Trooper revolver, one loaded .22 caliber Colt pistol, one.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, more than $100,000 in cash, and a drug ledger detailing the disbursement of money made on the sale of narcotics. In the Gigliotti residence, agents recovered a loaded handgun and more than $18,000 in cash.

Gregorio Gigliotti faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and Angelo Gigliotti faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. Both face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Updated: 07/25/2016