Ocasio Cortez's GOP opponent under scrutiny for family's gun and drug bust at Bronx warehouse
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Photo: Ståle Grut / NRKbeta.)

On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that the family of Tina Forte, the Republican challenging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), were caught by FBI agents in a gun and drug bust at their beverage distribution warehouse in the Bronx.

"In a 2020 Facebook post, Forte placed her business at an address on the Bronx’s Stillwell Avenue, and in her financial disclosures to the House Clerk’s office she stated her husband’s income derived from a company incorporated in this same building," reported William Bredderman. "It was this exact location that a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent identified as the site of the crimes of Joseph 'Joey Snapple' Galdieri — to whom Forte is married, according to records in suburban Rockland County, where the pair own a home well outside the congressional district’s borders — and their son Joseph Galdieri Jr."

"In the criminal complaint, the agent described the son arranging the drop-off of $150,000 worth of marijuana over the phone at the same time cameras caught his father pacing directly behind him in the warehouse’s office," said the report. "The agent further cited tapes that captured Galdieri Sr. meeting with the co-conspirator who brought a truckload of weed to the distribution center, and handing him a black plastic bag full of cash. In searching the location, federal agents discovered a semiautomatic pistol with its serial number illegally abraded away, in a drawer that Galdieri Sr. opened and rifled through several times in the security roll." Both Galdieris were convicted felons, and were not allowed to possess firearms at all.

Forte has claimed that the whole thing was on her son, not her husband, and that she had no idea of their criminal activities. She also told The Daily Beast that, “This experience has given me insights to the reforms we desperately need, including decriminalization of marijuana, expungement of marijuana violations, and restoring rights for nonviolent offenders.”

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Notably though, Forte has spent much of the campaign attacking Ocasio-Cortez for supporting New York's bail reform for supposedly allowing violent criminals to be released. Republicans and police groups have spent months falsely linking new limits on the use of cash bail in New York — a practice that has effectively been used to charge low-income people money for the right to plead innocent — to upticks in crime.

Earlier this year, Snopes.com uncovered evidence that Forte was also a participant in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and entered a restricted area after rioters knocked down police barriers — and that she has associated with members of the far-right Proud Boys, including their leader Enrique Tarrio. She has not been charged with a crime in connection with January 6 as of now.