The family of AOC’s rival, Tina Forte, was caught in 2019 in drug and arms trafficking
The family of AOC’s rival, Tina Forte, was caught in 2019 in drug and arms trafficking

The family of AOC’s rival, Tina Forte, was caught in 2019 in drug and arms trafficking

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s longtime Republican opponent has labeled the left-leaning lawmaker a “murderer” — but in fact the GOP candidate’s own family has been part of the rise in illegal activity he’s lamented.

A Snopes investigation earlier this year revealed that Tina Forte has a long history of flirting with violent fringes of the political right: posting photos on social media of herself with the leader of the Proud Boys gang, sharing QAnon-flavored slogans and even attending events . around Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rally that culminated in a bloody rampage through the US Capitol. But as a candidate for Congress, Forte cast herself as a more conventional Republican, playing up her experience as a small business owner and appealing to fears of rising crime rates, which she blamed on bail laws on which the state of New York liberalized after the progressive wave. four years ago.

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“The AOC and its socialist allies have pushed for the defunding of our police and the disastrous ‘bail reform’ policies that have caused New York’s crime to skyrocket,” the Forte website states. “Tina and her husband started with a juice delivery route and went on to build their own beverage distribution company. Now they are not only creating jobs, they are empowering others to create their own businesses.”

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Forte revisited those themes in conservative media appearances shortly after capturing the Republican nomination for the Democratic-majority seat, which covers sections of Queens and the Bronx.

“I grew up here, I have a business here, I raised my family here. I can see the difference,” she said in a Fox News interview in August. “We have offenders being released immediately because of bail reform supported by the AOC.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

It gave nearly identical marks on Newsmax.

“I talked to a lot of people in the district. I was born there, I grew up there, my family is there, I have my businesses here: I know this neighborhood. And I know the offense is out of control,” Forte said, decrying what she described as a pattern of absenteeism and neglect on the part of the incumbent.

But what Forte failed to mention is that her family’s liquor store was at the center of a federal drug and gun bust in 2019 — which culminated in guilty pleas from her husband and son, both of whom were serial offenders.

In a 2020 Facebook post, Forte listed her business at an address on Stillwell Avenue in the Bronx, and in her financial disclosures to her clerk’s office she declared her husband’s income from a company incorporated in the same building.

That exact location was identified by an FBI agent as the crime scene of Joseph “Joey Snapple” Galdieri — to whom Forte is married, according to records in suburban Rockland County, where the two own a home outside the city. congressional district boundaries — and their son Joseph Galdieri Jr.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Forte blamed her son and claimed her husband’s involvement was accidental and inadvertent. She testified that she was unaware of his criminal activities at the time and said he lived separately from her and her family.

“One of my three children, Joseph, made some very bad decisions. In 2019, at age 25, he committed a nonviolent crime involving marijuana and possession of a firearm. Joseph has paid the price in fines, attorney fees and time behind bars,” Forte wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “As for my husband, he was unaware of our son’s crimes. He was only charged because my son used our business location for a single delivery of marijuana.”

However, this characterization contradicts the FBI agent’s account of the father and son’s activities, as they recounted the content of the intercepted calls and security footage from inside the liquor store. In the criminal complaint, the agent described the son arranging the delivery of $150,000 worth of marijuana over the phone as cameras caught his father walking directly behind him into the warehouse office.

The agent further cited tapes that captured Galdieri Sr. meeting with the co-conspirator who brought a truck full of weed to the distribution center and handed him a black plastic bag full of cash.

While searching the location, federal agents discovered a semi-automatic handgun with an illegally broken serial number in a drawer that Galdieri Sr. opened and flipped through the security roll several times.

Because both Galdiers are convicted felons — the younger with substance charges in multiple states and the father convicted of second-degree assault — neither could possess a firearm under state or federal law.

Pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, the elder Galdieri received a sentence last fall, plus two years of probation and a $20,000 withholding from his program earnings.

Meanwhile, Junior was charged with a weapon and received 18 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release. Efforts to get him out in early June failed, with the judge noting that he “persisted in criminal behavior even while on pretrial release,” continuing to sell marijuana.

However, Forte told The Daily Beast that her son is now free, thanks to his good behavior and volunteer work with elderly inmates.

“As a result of my son’s behavior, our life has been turned upside down. My son knows he has no chance with me,” Forte wrote. “His misdeeds better be over or he’ll have more to worry about than the police.”

Notably, one point where Ms. Forte’s web page relaxes its policy position is in calling for “the expungement of records of non-violent marijuana possession charges,” given that New York state legalized recreational cannabis use in 2021 .However, the state still does not allow the drug to be sold without a license, and Ms. Forte’s website does not discuss federal gun charges or violent crimes such as her husband’s 2013 rap. Her son’s attorney filings state his prior felony conviction in New York involving controlled substances other than marijuana.

“This experience has given me insight into the reforms we desperately need, including decriminalizing marijuana, eliminating marijuana violations, and restoring the rights of nonviolent offenders,” Forte wrote in her statement to The Daily Beast.

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