Eleonora and Gregorio Gigliotti's Queens, New York restaurant, Cucino a Modo (Italian for, "I cook it my way") was known for getting locals hooked on crisp, bubbly slices of Margherita pizza.
Unfortunately, their flair for doing things in an original way abruptly ended last week when the pizza duo was charged with unlawful use and possession of firearms after multiple weapons were seized inside the restaurant. And according to federal prosecutors, Cucino a Modo was one of several businesses that the Gigliottis used to facilitate an international mob-connected drug-smuggling operation.
The secret ingredient: Kilograms of cocaine were hidden in cardboard boxes of the fresh cassava shipped from Costa Rica into the United States.
An indictment charged the Gigliottis, their son, Angelo, and a relative, Franco Fazio, with conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute it, and importation of cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine. The four are being held without bail.
According to the chief of the Eastern District's criminal division, the defendants are associates of the Genovese organized crime family.
With the fate of the pizzeria and its slices on hold, there's a lot of leftover yucca.