ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Schenectady man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to traffic 15 kilograms of cocaine in March and April 2021. Jeffrey Civitello Sr., 52, was convicted alongside his son Jeffrey Civitello Jr., and Richard Sinde of Fore Lee, New Jersey, in April.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), as part of the conspiracy, Christopher Kelly of Brooklyn delivered 3 kilograms of cocaine to Civitello Sr. in Schenectady on March 29, and Kelly and Sinde an additional 3 kilograms to Civitello Sr. on March 31. Also on March 31, the Civitellos ordered more cocaine and suggested that Kelly use a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee owned by Civitello Jr., which contained, in its trunk, a sophisticated, hidden compartment, also known as a “trap.”
Unknown to the conspirators, the DEA placed a court-authorized tracker on the Jeep several months prior, as part of an investigation into Civitello Jr. Sinde then drove the Jeep from Schenectady to Fort Lee. The following evening, he met Kelly in Breezy Point, New York, on the Rockaway Peninsula, where Kelly and Sinde loaded up the Jeep’s hidden compartment with 9 kilograms of cocaine to be delivered the following day to the Civitellos in Schenectady.
On April 2, 2021, Robert Ingrao, of Lodi, New Jersey, went to Sinde’s house and drove the blue Jeep north on Interstate 87. A State Trooper, at the DEA’s request, conducted a stop on Ingrao in Greene County. The DOJ says the Trooper found 9 kilograms of cocaine in the Jeep’s hidden compartment.
According to the DOJ, the Civitellos were arranging for a “trap” to be installed in another Jeep used by Sinde, so that Sinde could continue to traffic drugs to the Civitellos after Kelly went to state prison for a prior cocaine case. They abandoned that plan following the seizure of 9 kilograms of cocaine from Civitello Jr.’s Jeep.
Civitello Sr. is set to serve a 5-year term of supervised release and will have to forfeit $240,000. According to the DOJ, in 1999, Civitello Sr. was convicted in federal court of conspiring to distribute cocaine and money laundering. He served six years in prison.