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Gigliotti matriarch sentenced in cocaine scheme

Elenora Gigliotti was sentenced to seven years in prison.
US Dept of Justice
By Gina Martinez

After her husband and son were found guilty of running a cocaine trafficking operation out of their family-owned Corona pizzeria, Eleonora Gigliotti was sentenced for her part in the family drug smuggling business, prosecutors said.

Gigliotti, 56, of Malba pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine in Brooklyn federal court before Judge Raymond Dearie and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Her husband Gregorio, 60, and son Angelo, 36, were convicted in July 2016 of manning a transnational cocaine trafficking operation that stretched from Italy and Costa Rica to Queens, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said. The father was also found guilty of possessing a cache of firearms in connection with the operation, prosecutors said.

The trial presented damning evidence against the father and son that included court-authorized wiretaps and physical surveillance. The evidence revealed that Gregorio and his wife, Eleonora, used their Corona pizzeria, Cucino Amodo Mio, located at 51-01 108th St., and their import company, Fresh Farms Produce Export Corp., to facilitate their drug trafficking operation, the U.S. attorney said. Their son acted as an assistant, handling drug operations whenever Gregorio was out of town.

Gregorio was sentenced to 18 years last July. Their son Angelo is set to be sentenced next month. Elenora was not tried with her son and husband after being found unfit for trail. The sentencing memorandum said she was mentally unstable.

Acting U.S, Attorney Bridget Rhode said Elenora Gigliotti was guilty of active involvement in the family business. Prosecutors said she facilitated the illicit smuggling of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from the United States to Costa Rica.

While in Costa Rica, Elenora met directly with suppliers and gave them the money that was used to purchase cocaine, Rhode said. Elenora used her expertise to again conceal over $170,000 for co-conspirator Franco Fazio to travel to Costa Rica and fund another drug shipment, Rhode said. She applied for necessary paperwork, including customs paperwork, and an importation license for the front company that provided cover for the illegal business. She also sent an $11,000 wire transfer to the sources of supply in Central America, Rhode said. And all the while, she enjoyed the fruits of the operation, which were used to fund the Gigliotti family businesses, including the Cucino Amodo Mio restaurant and various construction projects, the acting U.S. attorney said.

“Although less culpable than her husband, as revealed in the intercepted calls and otherwise, the defendant was an active, core member of the conspiracy who was not forced to commit crimes, but rather made her own choices and decided to benefit enormously from illegal activity,” the sentencing memorandum said,

While Elenora was sentenced to seven years, she has already been in custody for 26 months and will likely serve another 3 1/2 years. Her lawyer, Nicholas Kaizer, said she was happy with her lesser sentence and that she regrets her part in the crime.

“This has been an extremely difficult ordeal for her and her entire family,” Kaizer said. “While the government was seeking a 15-year sentence for her, and her husband last month received an 18-year sentence, we’re thankful that Judge Dearie accepted our arguments regarding Eleonora’s lesser role in this offense and her difficult personal circumstances, both before her arrest and after, in sentencing her to the least possible time. Mrs. Gigliotti deeply regrets her role in this affair and hopes to rejoin her children, in-laws and grandchildren as soon as possible.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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