Pizza Shop Owner's Wife Pleads Guilty to Drug-Smuggling Scheme

By Seth Ferranti 01/27/17
The mob matriarch faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison for her role in the drug conspiracy.
New York pizzeria

Eleonora Gigliotti, the 56-year-old wife of Genovese associate Gregorio Gigliotti, 60, recently pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling cocaine through their family-owned pizzeria in Queens, New York.

The family is accused of using the pizzeria to stash cocaine, money, guns, ammunition and a handwritten ledger which they used to log drug transactions. Eleonora's plea comes just months after her husband and 36-year-old son, Angelo Gigliotti, were convicted for their part in the trans-national cocaine trafficking operation that used the pizzeria, Cucino a Modo Mio, as headquarters for their illicit venture.

Last July, the father-son trafficking team was found guilty in less than three hours by a Brooklyn jury, according to the NY Post. Since 2012, when the Gigliottis opened Cucino a Modo Mio, the duo smuggled 55 kilos of cocaine worth over $1 million into the United States in yucca containers from Costa Rica.

The federal indictment documented smuggling transactions from July 2014 to March 2015. “We are pleased to say that another organized crime enterprise’s attempt at evading law enforcement has been disrupted. We thank our law enforcement partners here, in Italy and Costa Rica for their continued cooperation,” FBI official Diego Rodriguez said in a press release

The mob wife transported and delivered $360,000 to suppliers in Costa Rica, and arranged for the drugs to be shipped to a Bronx warehouse in 2014.

Eleonora was originally declared mentally incompetent to stand trial, but she now faces up to 17.5 years in prison—with a mandatory minimum of five years—for her part in the conspiracy, when she is sentenced on April 12. The judge also ordered her to pay $1.625 million in forfeitures. If not for her plea deal, she may have faced life in prison.

Her husband and son will be sentenced on March 20; the elder Gigliotti faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, while his son faces a minimum of 20 years. 

“This family run business served more than just pizza to its customers, using store fronts like a pizzeria to import large amounts of cocaine,” Homeland Security agent Angel Melendez said in the press release. “Like father like son, both of these defendants will likely be spending the next several years in jail.” And it appears the family matriarch will join them. 

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.