A man who helped run from his family’s Queens restaurant a cocaine importation operation that reached from Central America to Corona to Europe was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release, prosecutors said.
Angelo Gigliotti, 36, of Woodside, Queens, was sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn by U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie following his conviction for conspiracy to import and possess cocaine, according to a news release from Bridget M. Rohde, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Gigliotti’s attorney, Gerald McMahon of Manhattan, was not immediately available for comment on the sentence.
Gigliotti’s mother, Eleonora Gigliotti, of Malba, was previously sentenced to 7 years in prison for her role in the scheme and his father, Gregorio Gigliotti, 69, also of Malba, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement and for the possession of firearms.
An investigation into the operation — initiated by federal authorities on Long Island — found it involved smuggling kilos of cocaine into the United States from Costa Rica in crates marked as the vegetable yucca. The drugs were then distributed within the United States or transshipped to Europe.
“The defendants used their family restaurant in Corona, Queens, as well as a produce importation company, to import over 50 kilograms of cocaine worth millions of dollars from Costa Rica,” Rohde said in the release. “The prison sentences imposed on the defendants put an end to the transnational drug trafficking they conducted behind the disguise of local businesses.”
Authorities said the restaurant, Cucino a Modo Mio, is now closed. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said in the release that cocaine was trafficked “across the globe,” with the restaurant being used as a front for the criminal activity.
Investigators on the case also came from such agencies as the FBI, the NYPD, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and others in Costa Rica, Panama City and Italy.
“To say the threats posed by the illegal drug trade know no boundaries would be an understatement, and yet there are those among us who dare to draw the line a little closer to home,” said William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York field office.
After a two-week trial in July 2016, a federal jury in Brooklyn found the father and son guilty of participating in the scheme. In January 2017, Eleonora Gigliotti pleaded guilty to conspiring to import cocaine.