Eight family members were arrested Tuesday on federal charges that they used a hot dog stand and other businesses as fronts to hide their marijuana-smuggling ring, which allegedly shipped thousands of pounds of pot from Arizona to Ohio.
Federal authorities said they believed Jonathan Ortiz Troncoza, 39, of Tucson, Arizona, headed the organization, and was assisted by various family members, reports Ryn Gargulinksi at Tucson Citizen
The organization supposedly smuggled at least 6,000 pounds of marijuana while collecting, and laundering through the front businesses, up to $5 million in marijuana sales.
The cash was reportedly used to run their business as well as buy or rent properties, jewelry, vehicles, and “other items in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy,” which sounds like federal-ese for “We’re going to basically take everything they own.”
Federal agents seized marijuana, more than $700,000 cash, numerous vehicles including a semi-tractor trailer, guns, jewelry, and a house in the course of their investigation, according to a news release from the District of Arizona’s Office of the U.S. Attorney.
Business names allegedly used by the busted Tucscon clan include Wedoito’s Hotdogs, Sea of Cortez Seafood & Produce Distribution, and AB Trucking.
“Conspirators also purchased semi-tractor trailers which were used to transport thousands of pounds of marijuana (and multiple pounds of cocaine) from stash houses in Tucson and Phoenix areas to properties in Ohio,” the U.S. Attorney’s release claims.