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Pizzeria owner in Queens, New York sentenced to 18 years for serving cocaine along with cheese slices

April 23, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Pizzeria owner in Queens, New York sentenced to 18 years for serving cocaine along with cheese slices

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When a federal judge in Brooklyn court handed Gregorio Gigliotti an 18-year prison sentence for his role at a restaurant that served cocaine along with slices, he tearfully asked the judge to show mercy while sentencing his wife and son, who were also busted in the international drug trafficking enterprise.

“You have my life in your hands and God’s hands,” Gigliotti, 61, said as he held back tears. “I understand I made a mistake.”

Gigliotti asked Federal Judge Raymond Dearie to be lenient with his son, Angelo, 36, and 56-year-old wife, Eleonora.

Jurors found Gigliotti and his son guilty of the smuggling operation, which had connections with Italy and Costa Rica. Prosecutors said they used their restaurant Cucino a Modo Mio, in Corona along with a produce-importing company as a front for the scheme. The charges included intentions to distribute approximately 50 kilos of cocaine found in shipments of yucca in 2014.

When police searched the restaurant in 2015, they discovered a cache of guns, brass knuckles, over $100,000 in cash and a ledger outlining drug deals.

Gigliotti pictured with his wife was sentenced to 18-years for his role in the mafia-linked drug ring

Eleonora Gigliotti pleaded guilty to less severe charges.

On Tuesday, Gregorio Gigliotti denied having any ties to the mob, and jurors never heard about any mafia links at trial.

However, prosecutors previously revealed in a memo that the Gigliotti family had “close ties” to the infamous Calabria-based criminal group, the ‘Ndrangheta. The memo cited Italian officials who found out that Gigliotti was arranging a cocaine sale with members of the group. The feds also allege that Gigliotti and his son have ties to the Genovese crime family.

Gigliotti’s lawyer Elizabeth Macedonio outlined a different story, saying her client came to America in 1973 worked hard to succeed. Before opening his restaurant, Gigliotti owned and managed several construction businesses.

“Somewhere along the way,” Macedonio added, Gigliotti got mixed up with drugs, which caused his decline. She requested a 15-year sentence, the required minimum for his crimes.

Prosecutors pushed for 35-years-to-life.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Gandy added that Gigliotti went to trial and “at no point fell on his sword in a public way.” Gandy said the man was the one operating the large-scale operation that imported at least 120 kilos of cocaine since 2012.

Dearie said he did not understand why Gigliotti had done legitimate work for so long only to end up in jail.

“You decided to add one more business. It’s hard to figure out why other than money, as the expression goes.”

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