Jury convicts father and son in Costa Rica cocaine case

A federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, returned a guilty verdict Friday against Gregorio and Angelo Gigliotti for their operation of a transnational cocaine trafficking operation that stretched from Italy, to Queens and to Costa Rica.

Gregorio Gigliotti, 60, was also convicted of possessing a stash of firearms in connection with the operation.  When sentenced by U. S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.  Gregorio Gigliotti faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and Angelo Gigliotti, 36, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The verdict was announced by Robert L. Capers, U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Evidence presented at trial, including court-authorized wiretaps and physical surveillance, revealed that 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, played the role of Gregorio’s trusted assistant, including handling the drug trafficking operation when Gregorio was out of the country.  In October 2014, law enforcement intercepted a shipment of cassava that was shipped to the United States from Costa Rica and bound for Fresh Farm Produce Export Corp. in New York.  The shipment was found to contain 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 September 2014, Franco Fazio, a relative and Italian national, traveled from Italy to New York and then to Costa Rica to deliver another $170,000 in cash 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.  Prior to the arrival of this shipment of cocaine, Fazio had made two additional trips to Costa Rica to meet with the sources of supply.

The Gigliotti defendants were arrested on March 11, 2015, in New York.

The charges in the indictment against co-defendants Eleonora Gigliotti and Franco Fazio remain pending. 

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