'Families of the Mafia': What Was Karen Gravano Arrested For?

In 2011, more than 10 years after her arrest, Karen Gravano was a household name once again thanks to the VH1 series Mob Wives. More recently, Gravano stepped back into the spotlight in the MTV series Families of the Mafia.

Both shows give viewers a glimpse at the lives of several families with mafia ties. Still, many people wonder about Gravano’s arrest in the early 2000s. Learn more about her drug-related charges.

Karen Gravano is the daughter of the Gambino crime family soldier Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano

“Sammy the Bull” is one of the most infamous mafia names in history. A former underboss for the Gambino crime family, “Sammy” turned on the Gambino’s in 1991. 

He confessed to his involvement in 19 murders and later served as an informant. Working with the police, “Sammy the Bull” brought down 39 mobsters, including John Gotti. 

Later, “Sammy the Bull” was put in jail for an ecstasy ring operation. His wife and two children were also arrested for their involvement in his drug dealings. 

Karen Gravano’s arrest in 2000 was a result of her part in ‘Sammy the Bull’s drug ring

Gravano’s father ran an ecstasy drug ring that moved the drug from Arizona to New York in the late 90s. In February 2000, Gravano and some 40 other drug ring members were arrested, including Gravano’s brother, Gerard. 

Gravano pleaded guilty to the use of wire communications and other drug-related transactions, according to ABC News. She was sentenced to three years of probation. Meanwhile, “Sammy the Bull” was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released in September 2017. 

In season 1 of Families of the Mafia, Gravano talks about her arrest and past decisions. “This is who I am no matter what,” she shares with Fox News. “People will always judge me because of my name. So instead of hiding from that, I want young people to learn from our mistakes. Or maybe they will just see how important it is to have a relationship with your family.”

Fans can expect more of that honesty In season 2 of Families of the Mafia

‘Families of the Mafia’ stars Karen Gravano and other infamous families 

Last spring, MTV introduced viewers to Families of the Mafia. The docuseries follows four Staten Island families tied to some of the most notorious names in the mafia. The series showcases the growing divide between the former mafia parents that want better lives for their children.

Families of the Mafia isn’t Gravano’s first time on reality TV. She previously appeared in the VH1 series Mob Wives alongside other famous mafia names like Drita D’Avanzo, Carla Facciolo, Angela Raiola, and Renee Graziano. Families of the Mafia focuses on the lives of other renowned mafia names, including the O’Tooles, the LaRoccas, and the Augustines. 

Watch ‘Families of the Mafia’ Season 2 on MTV

Families of the Mafia is returning to MTV this summer with a second season. This time, two new families are joining the series: the Nayfelds and the Cutolos. 

According to MTV, fans can expect the show to take a deeper dive into the “unfinished business lurking in families with ties to the mafia.” Tune in to new episodes of Families of the Mafia beginning July 15 at 9 PM EST on MTV. 

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