Tag Archives: cocaine

Queens family charged for international cocaine trafficking

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

This drug ring was all in the family.

A married Malba couple and their son from Woodside were formally booked Wednesday in a federal indictment for operating an international cocaine smuggling ring out of a Corona restaurant and export company.

Gregorio and Eleonora Gigliotti, ages 59 and 54 respectively, and their son Angelo Gigliotti, 34, were initially arrested on March 11. They were charged with conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, importation of cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine.

Italian authorities arrested on Thursday the Gigliottis’ alleged business partner — Franco Fazio, 56, of Calabria, Italy — along with 12 other defendants allegedly involved in the drug trafficking ring. The Gigliottis also face charges in Italy for various narcotics trafficking offenses.

Federal authorities said the drug ring was revealed through an investigation that included physical surveillance and court-authorized wiretaps.

Last October, federal agents intercepted a shipment of cassava from Costa Rica bound for Fresh Farms Export Corp. based in Corona and operated by the Gigliottis. Upon inspection, the shipment was found to contain 40 kilograms of cocaine.

Another 15 kilograms of the narcotic were recovered in a second cassava shipment to Fresh Farms Export Corp. that federal authorities intercepted in December.

Federal agents learned that the Gigliottis allegedly ran the drug smuggling business out of the export company and Cucino Amodo Mio, a restaurant and pizzeria the couple owned and operated at 51-01 108th St. in Corona. Eleonora Giglotti traveled to Costa Rica prior to the first shipment and made a $400,000 down payment on the product.

Investigators learned that in September, Fazio allegedly traveled from Italy to Costa Rica (by way of New York) and made an additional payment to the drug suppliers.

The FBI raided the home of Gregorio and Eleonora Gigliotti and Cucino Amodo Mio restaurant on March 11 and recovered numerous weapons — including a 12-gauge shotgun, several loaded handguns and brass knuckles — as well as more than $118,000 in cash.

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

“The arrests in New York and Italy dismantle a global network of alleged drug smugglers believed responsible for importing more than 50 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S.,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Raymond Parmer of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

Each of the Gigliottis face at least 15 years behind bars if convicted on the top charges.


JFK passenger caught with $30K of cocaine in running shoes

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U. S. Customs and Border Protection

This traveler may not be able to run away from the drug conviction he’s facing.

Thenga Adams had just arrived at JFK Airport on a flight from Georgetown, Guyana, on April 7 when he was stopped by U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for an inspection, officials said.

During the inspection, CBP officers found several pairs of running shoes in his luggage that contained a white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine, according to CBP. The seized drugs totaled about 2 pounds and had an estimated value of $30,000.

Adams was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges, CBP officials said.



Three St. Albans residents arrested in gun and drug bust

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police found guns, drugs and a bundle of cash while executing a search warrant at a St. Albans home Thursday morning that led to three arrests, authorities said.

The discovery was made while officers from the 113th Precinct were conducting a raid about 7:15 a.m. at a three-story home on Marsden Street near 165th Street.

During the operation, according to police, officers found a Taser stun gun and three loaded firearms, which included two Jennings 9 mm revolvers and a Rohm RG10 .22-caliber revolver. Twenty 9 mm rounds and a 9 mm magazine were also recovered.

Officers also discovered 23 codeine pills, more than $25,000 in cash, a fraudulent credit card and assorted drug paraphernalia, including a large quantity of glassine envelopes, a scale, seven crack pipes and a marijuana cigarette.

Police also spotted what they believed to be cocaine inside two vehicles— a Ford Expedition and a Nissan Maxima — parked in the home’s driveway, authorities said. The NYPD obtained warrants to search both vehicles and, hours later, found within them 545 grams of crack, 221 grams of cocaine and two scales.

The residents taken into custody at the scene were identified as Brian Tindley, 34, Alicia Davis, 35, and Shanique Casey, 18, according to police. Each was booked on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Tindley was additionally charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, while Davis was also booked for possession of a forged instrument. Casey faces an additional count of unlawful marijuana possession.


Former Queens ‘Cop of the Year’ arrested on drug trafficking charges

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Broward County Sheriff’s Office

Two years ago he was “Cop of the Year,” but on Monday he was busted in Florida on cocaine trafficking charges, according to police.

Philip LeRoy, who received the prestigious award in 2012 by former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly for his work in the 114th Precinct, was arrested in Florida for attempting to buy 10 kilos of cocaine, published reports said.

According to the New York Post, LeRoy was still working in the Queens precinct, but since the arrest he has been suspended.

The 28-year-old has been charged with felony weapon possession, trafficking cocaine, and conspiring to traffic the drug, according to records from the Broward County Clerk’s Office.

LeRoy is currently awaiting trial in Florida, and his bail is set at $250,000.


JFK passenger busted with $87K of cocaine

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

An arriving passenger at John F. Kennedy International Airport tried to bring back more than souvenirs in her suitcase.

The passenger’s luggage had just come off a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad on Sunday when a K-9 Fenja sniffed out something suspicious inside of it, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Jerrita Baker, a United States citizen, claimed the bag and a search was conducted.

CBP officers found a white powder inside the suitcase, which tested positive for cocaine.

In total, five pounds, with an approximate street value $87,000, was seized, and Baker now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges, CBP said.



Wanted cocaine smuggler nabbed in Springfield Gardens shootout with U.S. marshals: reports

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DEA


In a scene straight from an action movie, U.S. marshals serving a warrant at a home in Springfield Gardens exchanged shots with their suspect late Tuesday night, according to published reports.

Marshals surrounded the house at 144th Drive and 175th Street at about 11 p.m. and broke down the door with a battering ram, reports said. The suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest and was the first to open fire. The marshals returned fire and the suspect was wounded in his left hand. Witnesses told the New York Daily News that after being injured, the suspect threw his gun outside his apartment and surrendered to the marshals.

The suspect, Oswald Lewis, was wanted by the DEA for cocaine smuggling and by the NYPD for a stabbing in Brooklyn, according to published reports, and had been on the run for more than two decades.

The shootout terrified the residents in the neighboring houses, with one witness telling the New York Post that it was like a movie. “It was so surreal,” she said.

The suspect was taken to Jamaica Hospital for treatment, reports said. None of the marshals or NYPD cops acting as backup were hurt.



JFK passenger busted for trying to smuggle more than $82K of cocaine in luggage handle rails

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers


A man was caught “white-handed” at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport for trying to smuggle nearly five pounds of cocaine in the handle rails of his luggage, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBP) said.

On June 5, Warren Hawk, a U.S. citizen traveling from Guyana back to New York, was stopped at border inspection when CBP officials noticed the handles on his luggage were unusually large, according to officials. He was escorted to a private search room where officers opened one of the handles revealing a white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine.

In total there was about 4.82 pounds of cocaine seized from the handles of Hawk’s luggage, with a street value of more than $82,000., CBP said. Hawk was placed under arrest at the scene and is now facing federal narcotics smuggling charges.




JFK passenger accused of smuggling $300K of cocaine in powdered custard

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A man flying into John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport was caught allegedly trying to smuggle nearly 18 pounds of cocaine into the country by hiding it in powered custard.

Godfrey Cassius had just arrived on a flight from Guyana on April 22 when he was busted with the drugs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.

During an inspection of his baggage CBP officers discovered eight packages of “Champion” custard powder within the luggage, officials said.

Upon examining the packets, officers found a white powder, which had a strong chemical odor. The powder tested positive for cocaine, which had a total weight of 17.9 pounds and approximate street value $300,000, the CBP said.

Godfrey Cassius was arrested for the importation of a controlled substance and faces federal narcotics smuggling charges, according to officials.





Man caught at JFK with cocaine concealed inside frozen meat

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U. S. Customs and Border Protection

An arriving passenger faced some beefed-up security when he allegedly tried to smuggle cocaine through John F. Kennedy International Airport last month.

Yudishtir Maharaj has just come off a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad on March 20, when U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped him for a baggage inspection, CBP said.

During the search, they found three large packages of meat in his luggage, according to officials. They allegedly discovered white powder inside the meat, which tested positive for cocaine. In total, officers seized 7.35 pounds of the drug, the CBP said.

Maharaj faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York, according to CBP.



Woman caught at JFK allegedly smuggling cocaine in hair products

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A woman flying into JFK Airport from the Dominican Republic last month tried to sneak into the country with more than six pounds of cocaine concealed in hair products, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials said.

CBP officers were inspecting the baggage of Erika Rodriguez de los Santos, who had just arrived on a flight from Santo Domingo on November 18, and found five hair product containers that felt unusually heavy. After investigating further, they discovered the “containers produced an oil-like substance that tested positive for cocaine.”  The drugs weighed a total of 6.27 pounds.

Rodriguez was arrested for the import of narcotics and faces federal narcotics smuggling charges, according to CBP.



Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 63. West wind 9 to 13 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 52. Southwest wind around 8 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: The Mutations

Devil Science Theater is an interactive event where the audience plays drinking games and makes fun of terrible movies while being egged on by professional comedians in the crowd. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Raul Ibanez’s heroics in 9th, 12th innings give Yankees 2-1 lead over O’s

The Orioles were two outs from taking control of their AL division series against the Yankees. Jim Johnson had converted a big league high 51 saves. But then Raul Ibanez, pinch hitting for no less than Alex Rodriguez, turned on a 94 mph fastball with one out in the ninth inning to tie the score 2-all. Two innings later, it was Ibanez again. Read more: ESPN

Relatives, friends gather at funeral for teen killed in LI crash

Those who knew Christopher Khan all seemed to say the same thing: he always had a smile on his face, no matter the day or the time. Funeral services for Khan were held on Wednesday, October 10 in South Ozone Park. Hundreds of relatives, friends and neighbors packed the funeral home to say goodbye to the young man, killed, along with four others in a tragic wreck on the Southern State Parkway. Read more: Queens Courier

Lindsay Lohan gets into fight with mom over unpaid $40K loan, accuses her of cocaine use before cops are called to scene

The Lohan family’s lunacy just hit an all-time LiLo. A screaming fight between daughter Lindsay and mom Dina after a hard-partying night led dad Michael to dial 911. He claimed his daughter was held hostage early Wednesday inside a chauffeured SUV. She wasn’t. Read more: Daily News

TSA disarms 9 at NYC airports

Airline passengers were packing an arsenal this past weekend. Screeners for the Transportation Security Administration caught nine passengers at the city’s three major airports with illegal weapons or contraband, the agency said yesterday. Read more: NY Post

Slain soccer coach remembered as search for killer expands to Mexico

The search for the killer of a popular youth soccer coach has now shifted to Mexico as family and friends gathered Wednesday for a memorial service. Dozens of mourners filled the morning service for 25-year-old Michael Jones at the First Baptist Church in White Plains, N.Y. Read more: NY1

Lance Armstrong not only used performance-enhancing drugs, cyclist pushed banned substances on teammates: U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report

Lance Armstrong wasn’t just a cheater who used performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles, according to the explosive “reasoned decision” released by the United States Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday – he was also a dope pusher who supplied banned substances to his teammates and threatened to replace cyclists who refused to juice. Read more: Daily News

Jackson Heights drug den busted

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the New York State Police

The drug-dealing doings of two thugs were blown when officials sniffed out the pair’s operation, uncovering 18 pounds of cocaine from their Jackson Heights stash house.

According to the office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP), Wilmar Florez-Jimenez, 30, of Queens and Alvaro Montoya, 51, of Elizabeth, New Jersey were arrested on May 14 and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees and criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. The duo was arraigned on Monday, June 4 in Manhattan Supreme Court.

For two weeks, the 81st Street den had been under surveillance by investigators from the New York State Police (NYSP) Special Investigations Unit when they witnessed Montoya lugging a large, plastic garbage bag from the building and loading it into a red Chevy Envoy SUV before taking off.

Investigators stopped and searched Montoya’s vehicle. Inside the garbage bag, officials found a tire rim with the side wall sliced and the tread disconnected. Small towels and plastic tie wraps lined the underside of the tread. According to the SNP, the authorities had previously seen similar practices used as a means to conceal a large amount of narcotics.

Authorities then halted Florez-Jimenez as he exited the 81st Street lair, recovering a small amount of cocaine on him, as well as keys to the ground-level apartment.

After obtaining a search warrant, agents investigated the residence, seizing over eight kilograms – equal to 18 pounds – of cocaine, nearly $70,000 in cash and various drug-packaging paraphernalia, including diluting solution, a digital scale, a steel press, grinders and razors. Most of the cocaine was found hidden in a custom-built trap door inside a dresser and in the oven.

Detectives obtained Florez-Jimenez’s financial records, computer equipment and several cell phones. Subsequently, on May 16, upon conducting a second search of the captured Chevy, investigators discovered half a pound of cocaine, concealed under the truck’s previously folded down third seat.

According to the SNP, Florez-Jimenze was held on $250,000 bond, $100,000 cash and Montoya was held on a $30,000 bond, $15,000 cash as well as $30,000 bond for a separate indictment regarding the drugs later uncovered in the car.

Multiple calls to reach the defendants’ lawyers went unanswered as of press time.

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Eight Kilos Of Cocaine Seized In Jackson Heights House

Two men were arrested after more than eight kilograms of cocaine were seized from a home in Jackson Heights, Queens last month. Officials say the drugs were found in an apartment on 81st Street month during an investigation by state police. Read more: [NY1]

Small Mexican town of Tenancingo is major source of sex trafficking pipeline to New York

In this small Mexican town that sends sex slaves to New York, little boys dream of growing up to be pimps. Gaudy gabled houses that rise above gated walls are proof of the profits to be made from funneling “delivery girls” to Roosevelt Ave. in Queens. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Organized crime: ‘Coke den’ neat freaks’ closet stash

They probably didn’t get the idea from Martha Stewart Living. Two thugs were cooking up more than dinner when police stormed their Queens drug den — and discovered more than 18 pounds of cocaine stashed in an oven and a dresser, authorities said yesterday. Read more: [New York Post]

Flushing is not the only place the Mormon church wants to build big 

A controversial plan to build a large Mormon church in Flushing will get a second hearing before a key city panel on Tuesday. But a look at the church’s construction plans from around the nation shows that Queens isn’t the only place it is seeking permission to build up to the heavens. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Mets’ Johan Santana To Get A Couple Extra Days’ Rest

After making history with a no-hitter game this past Friday, Mets ace pitcher Johan Santana will get a couple of extra days rest, as team officials are worried about the stress on his arm. Santana is coming off surgery that put him on the shelf for more than a year. Read more: [NY1]

Congressional hopefuls tout endorsements

Assemblyman and congressional hopeful Rory Lancman will be endorsed by former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum on Tuesday. Lancman will make the announcement in conjunction with a statement about educational policies, including a push for more teacher training and smaller class sizes. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Drug bust nets cash, guns, lands 45 in jail

| tcimino@queenscourier.com

A large-scale bust landed 45 people – alleged members of two drug organizations operating in southeast Queens – in jail on drug, weapons and other charges.

The two organizations were allegedly being run by a set of the Bloods street gang known as the “South Side Bloods” and by James “Wall” Corley, an original member of the Queens Supreme Team, a violent narcotics gang that flourished during the height of New York City’s crack epidemic in the 1980s.

It is alleged that the two gangs grossed more than $15,000 per week by distributing narcotics to numerous street dealers who, in turn, sold the drugs to customers. In total, 45 people have been arrested, including 19 customers.

“This investigation resulted in dozens of arrests, including that of James ‘Wall’ Corley, one of the principal suppliers of cocaine throughout Queens South,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “Corley began his drug career as an associate of ‘the supreme team’ during the crack epidemic of the 1980s, and associated with the felons who sanctioned the execution of New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne in 1988. While Corley was not charged in the murder of Eddie Byrne, generations of police officers will take no small satisfaction in the fact that an associate of his killers has been brought to justice.”

District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that, since February 2011, the NYPD’s Queens Gang Squad and his Narcotics Investigations Bureau have been watching two separate organizations allegedly supplying narcotics in southeast Queens.

As a result of traditional investigative means such as physical surveillance and search warrants, coupled with court-authorized electronic surveillance, authorities allegedly developed information that the first group, the Corley Crew, allegedly led by James Corley, supplied customers in the South Jamaica Houses, the Baisley Houses, Rochdale Village and other areas in Jamaica, while the second group, the South Side Bloods, supplied customers in Baisley Gardens and other parts.

In addition to the arrests, officers executed 14 court-authorized search warrants and allegedly seized approximately one-and-one-half kilograms of cocaine, over 50 decks of heroin, a quantity of marijuana, approximately $70,000 in alleged narcotic proceeds, numerous cell phones, four handguns and a 9mm Intratec submachine gun.

The defendants are variously charged criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of marijuana.

Among those arrested was Corley, who was charged on May 10 with three narcotics sales and other related charges. In executing a search warrant at Corley’s residence in Rochdale Village, police allegedly recovered a quantity of cocaine, 10 vials of Lidocaine (commonly added to cocaine), 45 forged $5 bills and various narcotics paraphernalia.

Connecticut dad busted in Queens with $70K worth of cocaine in his car — along with his 13-year-old son: police

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Two police officers collared a Connecticut man who was driving in Queens Sunday with his 13-year-old son — and about $70,000 worth of cocaine inside his car, cops said.

Police officers Vincent Siraco and Michael Sardone were on foot patrol on Jamaica Avenue near 165th Street in Jamaica at about 1:55 p.m. when they noticed a 2007 Honda Accord with heavily tinted windows, cops said.

The two cops smelled marijuana after they motioned for the driver — Silvestre Mahon — to pull over, cops said.

[New York Post]