Corona restaurant owners charged with running international coke ring

By Madina Toure

A couple accused of running a cocaine ring out of their Corona restaurant, along with their son, were charged Thursday with participating in an international cocaine trafficking operation that ran from Costa Rica through the Bronx to Queens and then on to Italy, according to the Brooklyn federal court.

Gregorio Gigliotti, 59, and Eleonora Gigliotti, 54, the owners of Cucino a Modo Mio, on 51-01 108th Street and their 34-year-old son Angelo were charged with conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, importation of cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine, the court said.

The Gigliottis were also charged with unlawful use and possession of firearms.

“This case is a powerful example of the impact of international cooperation in combating criminal organizations whose activities transcend national borders,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie said in a statement.

In Italy authorities arrested one of the Gigliottis’ relatives who is an Italian citizen along with 13 other people in the operation, prosecutors said.

“The arrests in New York and Italy dismantle a global network of alleged drug smugglers believed to be responsible for importing more than 50 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S.,” said Raymond Parmer, special agent in charge who is with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Gigliottis allegedly took part in an international narcotic-trafficking operation between July 1, 2014 and March 11, 2015 authorities said.

Through their contacts in Costa Rica, the couple allegedly arranged for shipments of cocaine in containers of yucca to a port in Delaware before having them trucked to Fresh Farms Export Corp., their Bronx produce warehouse, according to court papers.

Phone wiretaps at the pizzeria found that Gregorio, a reputed associate of Genovese capo Anthony Federicci, sent Eleonara to deliver a suitcase filled with $400,000 in cash to a drug dealer in Costa Rica last August, the court papers said.

The family received 55 kilos of cocaine during a six-month period valued at nearly $2 million from Costa Rica, the papers said. Agents recovered $100,000 from the restaurant’s safe, along with six guns. Some of the cocaine imported into the United States was destined for distribution in Italy, according to the feds.

The13 arrested by authorities in Italy on related drug-trafficking charges, include Franco Fazio, 56, a relative who is an Italian citizen, prosecutors and the FBI said.

The Gigliottis were also charged with narcotics-trafficking offenses by the Italian authorities.

Italian law enforcement officials disabled a narcotics distribution ring allegedly operating in Calabira on behalf of the Gigliottis, authorities said.

If convicted, the Gigliottis face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

, a relative and 16 others