Nestled on Mott Street in Little Italy, Parisi Bakery has been offering an array of freshly-made treats to New Yorkers for well over a century. But in recent years, it turns out the shop’s owner was more concerned with getting his customers baked than actually baking.
According to Manhattan Supreme Court records, Frank Parisi—the 60-year-old, fourth generation owner of the shop—was a “midlevel member of the (marijuana) trafficking conspiracy,” even peddling weed right outside of his legendary storefront.
Parisi was initially arrested in July as part of a massive drug bust involving the Gambino crime family. Along with 24 other defendants, he’s accused of orchestrating a $15 million, cross-country weed ring that took legally grown marijuana in California and had it shipped to New York City for sale.
Police found 20 pounds of marijuana as well as packing supplies in Parisi's apartment next to the bakery.
"Mr. Parisi's role was to distribute [the drugs] on the streets of New York," Assistant District Attorney Brian Foley claimed during the defendant's arraignment last month. Parisi’s attorney, however, “he works every day, every hour, every week in that bakery.”
That may be true, but now court papers now reveal that investigators witnessed Parisi conducting his illicit business right outside of his bakery.
"Surveillance of Parisi and of the area around Parisi Bakery revealed what appeared to be (marijuana) trafficking activity," the documents read.
Parisi, who has not pled guilty to the charges, was also caught on wiretap ordering marijuana in bulk. During one call, he asked co-defendant Stephen Gallo if he had “any of the high end,” and inquired about two strains called “Purple Dragon” and “Lemon Haze.”