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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

A Whitestone man will spend the next 18 years behind bars after being convicted of importing cocaine with his wife and son through their family restaurant in Corona, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.

Gregorio Gigliotti, 61, operator of Cucino Amodo Mio, located at 51-01 108th St. in Corona, was ordered to serve 18 years in prison after he and his son Angelo Gigliotti were found guilty of participating in a long-running cocaine importation scheme in July. The jury also found Gregorio Gigliotti guilty of unlawfully possessing firearms, including a firearm with a defaced serial number.

Gigliotti’s wife, Eleanora, 55, admitted to her participation in the family’s drug-trafficking in January of this year, pleading guilty to conspiring to import cocaine. She and her son Angelo are still awaiting sentencing, facing 5 years and 20 years in jail, respectively.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the defendants’ arrests arose out of a long-term investigation conducted by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the FBI. The defendants started using the restaurant and Fresh Farm Export Corp., a produce importation company, as a covered for the drug smuggling operation.

During the investigation, law enforcement agents intercepted 55 kilograms of cocaine that were hidden inside cardboard boxes that had cassava in them that were sent through Costa Rica between October and December 2014.

The Gigliottis were initially arrested on March 11, 2015. Federal officers searched the family restaurant and recovered seven loaded guns, ammunition magazines, loose ammunition, two handgun holsters, brass knuckles, over $100,000 in cash and a handwritten ledger that showed the movement of over $350,000.

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