Two Queens pizzeria owners have been charged with running a major cocaine trafficking ring that has ties to Italian mob families, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Spouses Gregorio and Eleonora Gigliotti, owners of now-closed Cucino a Modo Mio in Corona, are accused of smuggling cocaine into Italy, after investigators intercepted about 40 kilos of the drug in cardboard boxes of cassava, a root vegetable, imported from Costa Rica in October. Officials say another box of cassava containing 15 kilos of cocaine was intercepted in December. The Gigliottis and their son, Antonio, were arrested in March, but at least 13 people believed to be connected with the 'ndrangheta criminal organization were arrested in Calabria, Italy this morning.
The Gigliottis, who are also Calabrian, have been charged with conspiring to import and importing over 50 kilos of cocaine from Costa Rica, as well as for illegally possessing firearms—a raid on their restaurant allegedly yielded a number of weapons, including a loaded .22 caliber Colt pistol, a loaded .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver, brass knuckles, and a 12 gauge shotgun.
It is believed the Gigliottis intended to ship the cocaine to Italy. Another family member, Calabrian resident Franco Fazio, has also been charged in New York in connection with the ring.