Before the creation of Mob Wives, Angela “Big Ang” Raiola pleaded guilty to a felony for distributing narcotics (cocaine) in 2001. According to court records, she was part of a 15-person drug ring which distributed crack cocaine, powdered cocaine, and marijuana in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Raiola sold drugs at the various Brooklyn bars where she worked. When arrested in May 2001, 14 small plastic bags containing cocaine were found in her purse.
Big Ang was sentenced to three years of probation and, like all convicted felons, she had her constitutional rights taken away. Those rights include voting, keeping and bearing arms, and — for Big Ang — not working in a bar. On the Mob Wives episode “Hamptons Hangover,” Big Ang tells the other Mob Wives that now, 15 years later, she wants to restore her constitutional rights. “Now that I’m good, I wanna do what I wanna do,” she says. Fellow felon Karen Gravano explains the process from experience. In 2000, Karen was arrested for selling Ecstacy with her father “Sammy the Bull” Gravano in Arizona. Karen got probation, too. Karen reassures Big Ang that when Big Ang restores her constitutional rights, “You’d be able to get a liquor license in your name.” Mob Wives airs Wednesdays at 8pm on VH1.