Mob Wives star Drita D’Avanzo’s husband Lee D’Avanzo has been sentenced to more than five years in prison after pleading guilty to keeping two loaded guns at their Staten Island home.
D’Avanzo, 51, a reputed member of the Colombo crime family, appeared at the Brooklyn Federal Court house on Friday, in the court’s first in-person hearing since the coronavirus lockdown in March.
The mobster was handed a 64-month sentence – much longer than the 46 months prosecutors had sought – despite wife Drita’s pleas for leniency weeks earlier.
D’Avanzo pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a weapon after authorities found two guns loaded with hollow point bullets stashed in the kitchen and master bedroom during a raid of the couple’s home in December.
Judge Rachel P. Kovner on Friday stood firm on her ruling, citing D’Avanzo’s lengthy rap sheet which includes six prior convictions, two of which were at the federal level, and violations of a supervised release.
‘Two prior sentences of approximately 60 months were not sufficient to deter the defendant from serious crimes,’ she said.
Kovner also highlighted the fact that he had kept the two weapons loaded in the home where his two daughters live.
Earlier, Drita, 44, was seen arriving at the court with her two daughters, Aleeya and Gizelle.
The mother-of-two wore an all black ensemble which she paired with a baseball cap and sunglasses, and protected herself with a surgical mask.
Inside, all visitors were required to have their temperatures taken before entering the courtroom.
Prior to Friday, all hearings at the court had been held virtually via videoconference.
Drita herself had also been facing charges relating to the December 2019 incident, but prosecutors agreed to drop the charges in February because she was not a target of the search warrant.
The couple was taken into custody after the New York Police Department raided their home in southwest Staten Island on December 19.
The original criminal complaint says officers found two loaded firearms – one in a bedroom, the other in the kitchen – opioids and drug-dealing paraphernalia inside the home on Woodvale Avenue.
NYPD detectives also said they found ‘two scales, ziplock bags used for the purpose of unlawfully packaging a narcotic drug, a sum of United States currency and multiple cellular phones’.
Police allege that they noticed ‘a large quantity of marijuana’ in the basement that was accessible to their 12-year-old daughter.
Lee was also one of 24 people who were arrested in a sting operation that was the culmination of a year-long investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics and Criminal Enterprise Unit in New Jersey in January.
New Jersey prosecutors charged him with fourth-degree conspiracy to possess marijuana and fourth-degree possession of marijuana in excess of 50 grams.
The sting, dubbed Operation On The Ropes, revealed a scheme to turn candy products like Nerds Rope and Sour Patch Kids into THC-laced drugs.
Law enforcement officials also recovered 1,100 pounds of suspected marijuana and more than 6,000 flavored THC vape cartridges, all with a street value of $1.9 million.