Several alleged members or associates of New York's Gambino and Bonanno mafia families have been arrested on suspicion of dealing cocaine from a gelato shop and other crimes, according to a federal indictment that was unsealed on Nov. 9. The arrests were the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation into the crime organization.
Court documents show that four defendants, ranging in age from 44 to 54, were taken into custody in New York on Nov. 8. They were arraigned in Brooklyn on Nov. 9. Nine other defendants were apprehended in Canada. According to the indictment, two of the defendants are accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine from a gelato shop located in New York City. The indictment also accuses various defendants of laundering $250,000 in cash, conducting a loansharking scheme with interest rates of up to 54 percent and being a felon in possession of multiple firearms.
As part of the investigation, an undercover officer infiltrated the alleged crime organization and took part in an initiation ceremony. If convicted, the defendants could face sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.
Individuals facing drug crimes can face severe consequences. Typical penalties for drug trafficking often include incarceration, fines and the seizure of personal property. Therefore, many defendants choose to retain a criminal defense attorney to protect their rights as they navigate the legal system. After reviewing the case, an attorney could develop a defense based on the circumstances of the case. This may include disputing evidence in hopes of getting the case dismissed or negotiating with prosecutors for a plea deal that lowers the charges and penalties.
Source: NBC New York, "Cocaine Sold From NYC Gelato Shop in Mafia Scheme: Federal Authorities", Nov. 9, 2017