Hunts Point warehouse allegedly used by international drug ring

Fresh Farms Export Corp. warehouse located at 330B Cassanova Street in Hunts Point was allegedly used to facilitate an international drug trafficking operation.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

A Queens family charged in a recent international drug bust allegedly used a Hunts Point produce warehouse for their operation’s narcotics-trafficking.

On Thursday, May 7, Brooklyn federal court charged husband and wife defendants Gregorio, 59, and Eleonora Gigliotti, 54, their son Angelo, 34, and Franco Fazio, 56, a relative and Italian citizen with conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, importation of cocaine, and attempted possession of cocaine.

The Gigliotti defendants are also facing an unlawful use and possession of firearms charge after law enforcement uncovered their extensive weapons cache.

These charges are reflective of their participation in an international drug trafficking operation between July 1, 2014 and this past March 11 and corresponds with the arrest of 13 Italian defendants on related drug-trafficking charges between the United States and Italian law enforcement agencies.

Fazio was one of 13 arrested and he will face charges in Italy before being extradited to the U.S. to face the superseding charges raised against him.

The Gigliotti defendants remain in stateside custody while being additionally charged with alleged narcotics-trafficking offenses by the Italian authorities.

The family owned and operated several businesses including Cucino Amodo Mio Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Corona and a Fresh Farms Produce Export Corporation warehouse located at 330B Casanova Street in Hunts Point which were allegedly utilized for their drug trafficking operations.

These charges resulted from a lengthy probe conducted by HIS and the FBI using court-authorized wiretaps and physical surveillance uncovering between last October and December, the defendants had allegedly imported over 55 kilograms of cocaine into the states from Costa Rica which law enforcement recovered.

Last October, law enforcement intercepted a cassava shipment from Costa Rica bound for Fresh Farms which contained approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine concealed inside cardboard boxes of cassava.

Prior to its arrival, Gigliotti allegedly visited Costa Rica with approximately $400,000 in cash which she delivered to the sources of supply.

In September, Fazio allegedly traveled from Italy to New York then Costa Rica to deliver another $170,000 in cash to the suppliers.

The following December, a second Costa Rican cassava shipment bound for Fresh Farms was blocked and approximately 15 kilograms hidden within cardboard boxes of produce were seized.

Before this shipment arrived, Fazio allegedly made two additional trips to Costa Rica to meet with sources there.

On March 11, the Gigliottis were arrested while law enforcement searched both Cucino Amodo Mio and the couple’s home.

In the restaurant, police seized a 12 gauge shotgun, a loaded .357 magnum Trooper revolver, a loaded .22 caliber Colt pistol, a loaded .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver, a 9 mm Keltec pistol, a .762 Czech pistol, a .38 caliber Derringer with a defaced serial number, ammunition magazines, loose ammunition, two handgun holsters, brass knuckles, and more than $100,000 in cash.

Inside the couple’s residence, agents recovered a loaded .45 caliber Llama handgun and more than $18,000 in cash.

If the Gigliottis are convicted, they face a potential mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

The Brooklyn defendants will be arraigned at a later date before United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie.

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