Federal prosecutors are getting an assist from a key member in a cocaine ring operated out of a pizzeria in Corona with alleged ties to organized crime.
According to court documents, the witness is a former partner of Gregorio and Angelo Gigliotti, a father-and-son team. Gigliottis were indicted last year on charges that they helped smuggle and distribute cocaine imported from Costa Rica concealed in boxes containing yucca. They used an importing business created and operated out of their restaurant, Cucino Amodo Mio, located at 51-01 108th St., to arrange for the narcotic shipments.
The witness previously testified before a grand jury and received immunity from the government in the case, court documents revealed.
Prosecutors said that the witness developed a partnership with Gregory Gigliotti in the fall of 2011, as the witness and his father were operating a cocaine-trafficking operation in New York City. They eventually struck a deal in 2012 to import cocaine concealed in produce shipments.
Court documents indicated that the witness established a produce importation business and obtained a license to import yucca. The witness wired money to a contact in Costa Rica to arranged for the shipment of cocaine.
Gregorio Gigliotti later advised the witness to conceal the cocaine in the flaps of cardboard boxes in order for the cocaine to go undetected when the boxes went through X-ray machines.
The first cocaine shipment arrived at a Bronx warehouse in August 2012, while the second came a month later at Cucino Amodo Mio in Corona.
Later, court documents revealed, the relationship between the witness and the Gigliottis hit complications. Angelo Gigliotti allegedly made a late payment to the witness. Gregorio Gigliotti — believing that someone had tipped off law enforcement to the smuggling scheme — allegedly directed the witness not to make any additional shipments at his restaurant after police stopped a delivery truck.
In an Oct. 30, 2014, phone call with the witness that law enforcement agents wiretapped, Gregorio Gigliotti allegedly expressed interest in once again importing cocaine, but in larger quantities. The witness told him that he was no longer interested in participating in such activities.
The Gigliottis — along with Eleanora Gigliotti, Gregorio’s wife and Angelo’s mother — were arrested on March 11, 2015, for their alleged roles in the smuggling operation. Twelve others connected to the ring were subsequently indicted.
All three members of the Gigliotti family face up at least 15 years in prison if convicted.