In a tale that sounds like the plot of a Mario Puzo novel, a family-owned pizzeria in Queens, New York was the center of a trans-Atlantic drug trafficking operation that smuggled cocaine in refrigerated containers of cassava from Costa Rica.The cocaine was distributed in New York and Italy to members of the ’ndrangheta organized crime ring, Italy’s principal importer and wholesaler of cocaine.A total of 17 people have been arrested in Italy and the U.S., including the alleged ringleader and pizzeria owner, Gregorio Gigliotti. Gigliotti is a native of Calabria, ‘ndrangheta’s heartland in southern Italy. He had moved to the Queens district of New York where he ran a pizza restaurant called Cucino a Modo Mio with his wife and son.Gregorio and Eleonora Gigliotti, their son, Angelo, and another relative have been arrested and charged in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Italian police arrested another 13 people suspected of being involved in the trafficking ring on Thursday, The New York Times reported.The Gigliottis traveled to Costa Rica — sometimes separately, sometimes together — nine times starting in 2012, according to Costa Rican immigration records. During one of Eleonora Gigliotti’s five flights into Juan Santamaría International Airport in 2014, she delivered $400,000 to the family’s Costa Rican suppliers, according to court documents.When an expected shipment did not arrive during the summer of 2014, Gregorio Gigliotti called one of the Costa Rican sources saying:Listen to me. If I don’t have the container by this next week, I’ll go over there. I know where you live, where they live. Don’t make me blow my mind. Do your job, send me the container.All but one of the couple’s stays in Costa Rica lasted less than five days.In October 2014 police uncovered 44 kilograms of cocaine in a shipment marked “fresh cassava” on its way to the family’s wholesale produce warehouse and another 15 kilograms in December inside the cardboard boxes carrying the food.The street value of the cocaine was estimated at $2 million, The New York Times reported.Drugs often move through Costa Rica’s ports in containers of food or flowers. Dutch authorities in Rotterdam uncovered 3.5 metric tons of cocaine hidden in a shipment of cassava from Costa Rica in December 2014.Spanish authorities found 2.5 metric tons of cocaine in boxes of pineapples from Costa Rica in May 2014.Costa Rica seized more drugs than any other country in Central America last year.AFP contributed to this story. Facebook Comments Related posts:Israeli tourist caught smuggling cocaine at Costa Rica airport Italian mafia ‘interested’ in drug trafficking in Costa Rica, says Interpol Costa Rica Coast Guard confiscates 810 kilos of cocaine near Quepos Beachcombing along the Caribbean drug trail in Nicaragua
8. Monster Chilli Sauce Kit £13.99If you could only grow your own chillies and make your own sauce while you’re on holiday, then life would be just that little bit better. Self-catering need never be so traumatic with this essential kit, complete with app to tell you what to do if you can’t read the instructions. 10. Travel Ashtray £6.50If you’re busting for a smoke, you can light up wherever you are (well, not on a plane, and plenty of other places) and not worry about ashing on the carpet, with this little baby. Doubles up as a pocket mirror so you can do your make-up on the go. 1. Trunki Travel Chums Wash Bag £6.99Already got aTrunki? Now get the small thing in your life (no, not the cat) a bathroom buddy. Apparently, ‘kids can enjoy packing their toiletries’, it says, and while packing my toiletries was by far the most enjoyable element of my holidays long into my teens, it could have been even better with one of these. 11. Go Travel Full Length Waterproof Travel Raincoat £7.62Just think how jealous your friends will be when you tell them you got a mac for Christmas. They don’t need to know it’s not made by Apple. Stored snugly in your backpack, or even folded up in your pocket, and just pull it out when the heavens open. Ideal for expeditions in Equatorial cloud forests, where moisture can be as maddening as the insect life. Related5 must-have luggage essentials for summerYou’ve sorted out your cheap flights and you have a bit of extra cash to give your travel kit a revamp. Here are some ideas for some essential summer luggage and travel bits and pieces.10 best business travel gifts for Christmas10 great gadget-y gifts for the business traveller.Skyscanner’s essential packing listPacking for your next adventure is never easy. Hours are spent umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether you really need 17 tops for that one-week trip, before you arrive at the airport and realise you’ve left something vitally important… like your passport. Our packing list will help you get yourself organised,… 6. The Really Tiny Book Light £6.75If you don’t have a Kindle Fire (where have you been?), if you need to read bus timetables in a bus shelter on a dark and lonely highway on the outskirts of Plovdiv, or if you find yourself doing some impromptu potholing at night, this little tool may be your saviour. 4. Travel Clothes Line £3.69Make losing underwear a thing of the past. If only I’d had one of these; then I’d have never lost that prized pair of pants that blew off a hotel windowsill in a sudden squall in Bologna. Hopefully someone down below put them to good use. Backpacker off on a round-the-world trip? Teenager taking a gap year? Granny gapper going gonzo?If you need a gift for someone who loves travel this Christmas, look no further. To celebrate Cyber Monday – the year’s busiest day for shopping online – on December 2, we’ve got 12 amazing ideas for the perfect present. 12. Peter Duncan’s Family Travels £10.75Starring ex-Blue Peter and In at the Deep End presenter Peter Duncan, in terms of travel documentaries, you can’t get much better than this. Actually, at first I thought it was Peter Davidson, and how good would that have been?ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 5. The Worst-case Scenario Travel Handbook £8.10From the practical (how to purify water) to the possible (how to escape from a car hanging over the edge of a cliff) to the really rather unlikely (how to foil a UFO abduction), this book provides solutions to commonly-encountered sticky holiday situations. An essential gift for the adventurous traveller in your life.More: 12 Top Travel Books for Christmas 2. Panda Face Eye Travel Sleeping Mask Blindfold, £2.32Need some beauty sleep? Or maybe you just want to look like a panda? Scare the person sitting next to you on the plane by slipping on this sleeping mask and growling at them. Do pandas growl? I have no idea.3. Pug Dog Eyemask £5Need some beauty sleep? Or maybe you just want to look like a pug? 9. Travel Dog Kit In A Tin £6Do you take your dog on holiday with you? No? You don’t have a dog? Oh well, who cares. This handy kit is the ideal present for anyone who likes dogs, or doesn’t. It comes complete with folding water bowl for when Rover gets thirsty, new rave glow-in-the-dark lead, and poop bags. 7. Yellowstone Car Travel Gift Set £9.52The ideal set to keep in your car in case of those unexpected emergencies. Apart from, it doesn’t include a bottle of whisky (to pass the time, and sterilise wounds), membership of the AA (because who in this day and age knows how to change a tyre?) and The Worst-case Scenario Travel Handbook (to know how to foil an alien abduction).