Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO -- A prominent former Falls and Lewiston chef and restaurateur will spend the next 10 years behind bars for his guilty plea to a charge that he conspired to bring marijuana into the United States and send cocaine into Canada as part of an international drug smuggling ring.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Arcara sentenced Filippo Inglima, 46, 2825 Thornwood Road, Wheatfield, to the minimum prison term he could have received.
"The only thing I want to say is, I'm ashamed of myself," Inglima said just before he was sentenced.
Arcara noted that Inglima was well regarded in the community and had never been in trouble before being charged in the drug conspiracy.
"This is not a pleasant position I find myself in," Arcara said. "It's unfortunate (Inglima) finds himself in this position. But he was involved with a major drug dealer, with 20 (other dealers) under his control. And they weren't passing out medicine, they were passing out poison."
Inglima said he was leaving his fate in Arcara's hands.
"I'll leave it up to you," he said to the judge. "Whatever you think is right."
Inglima, his business partner in a North Buffalo restaurant, David Gambino. and 22 other individuals were indicted in November 2009 on charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 500 grams of so-called “club drugs” like Ecstacy.
In a plea agreement, filed with the court, Inglima admitted that "between 2006 and Nov. 17, 2009 ... (he) traveled to Canada on occasion in order to pick-up quantities of marijuana which (he) smuggled into the United States." Inglima also admitted that he "met couriers" after they had smuggled pot into the U.S. and he then distributed the marijuana to Gambino and others.
While the pot was flowing into the U.S., Inglima confessed that he was assisting Gambino in "transporting quantities of cocaine from the United States to Canada." Inglima also admitted that he smuggled cash in and out of the United States and Canada to pay for the cocaine and marijuana.