Tucson family drug bust: Wedoito’s Hotdogs front for marijuana, drug trafficking operation, feds say

A family business can be quite lucrative – provided you get along with your family. And also provided you pick a trade that rakes in the cash.

Seized semi/submitted photo

Drug trafficking is such a trade, and the cash – as well as jewelry, guns, snazzy vehicles another other amenities – were reportedly flowing in freely for an alleged Tucson family-run drug organization, according to a news release from the District of Arizona’s Office of the U.S. Attorney.

Then they got busted.

Eight family members were arrested Tuesday on federal charges they ran a conspiracy that set up false front businesses – like “Wedoito’s Hotdogs” – to hide their drug-trafficking ring which shipped multi-hundred pound loads of marijuana from Arizona to Ohio.

Feds believe Tucson’s own Jonathan Ortiz Troncoza, 39, headed the organization, and was assisted by various family members.

All told, the organization allegedly smuggled at least 6,000 pounds of marijuana while raking in, and laundering, up to $5 million in marijuana sales. This 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.”

“Federal agents seized marijuana, over $700,000 cash, numerous vehicles (including a semi-tractor-trailer), guns, jewelry, and a house in the course of the investigation,” the release said.

The master plan

The first step in setting up a family-run drug ring is yoking family members to help run it. Then you pick out some catchy aliases and set up several fictitious businesses to make it seem like you’re really selling fish and Frankfurters instead of marijuana and cocaine.

Business names allegedly used by the arrested Tucson clan include “Sea of Cortez Seafood & Produce Distribution, LLC,” “AB Trucking,” the sweet and snappy “Wedoito’s Hotdogs, LLC,” and a few others.

Once money starts flowing in from the drug sales, you use that cash to rent warehouses and homes, as our conspirators allegedly did in Arizona and Ohio.

“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 release noted.

Once your ring is all set up, you need to get a little crafty and creative with transportation and deposits.

Money earned from the organization’s lucrative marijuana sales was allegedly hidden and moved around the country on commercial airlines, tractor-trailers and other vehicles. The cash was also reportedly used to buy airline tickets, cell phones, put them up in hotels and pay for other things needed to “further the conspiracy.”

“The defendants also conspired to conduct financial transactions, including depositing thousands of dollars in drug proceeds into bank accounts controlled by the drug trafficking organization.”

Rented Tucson warehouse/submitted photo

How they got busted

Pay attention here. Getting busted is not part of a successful drug-trafficking business plan. Don’t get cocky. Don’t get sloppy. And don’t smuggle money through Phoenix.

Federal agents got wind of the conspiracy in 2005 when Jonathan Ortiz Troncoza and a “female companion” trekked through Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport with $181,790 cash hidden in two suitcases.

This prompted the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS Criminal Investigations to kick off a five-year-plus investigation that lasted from March 2005 to June of this year.

“Operation Frozen Freight” was the catchy moniker for the investigation, which eventually froze the family business.

The charged:

The 15-count indictment was unsealed Tuesday when the eight arrested defendants made their initial appearance at the U.S. District Courthouse in Phoenix.

Arrested:

Jonathan Ortiz Troncoza, 39, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Promotional Money Laundering and Concealment Money Laundering

David Ortiz Troncoza, 41, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and Promotional Money Laundering

Yvonne Teresa Troncoza-Martinez, 38, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and Promotional Money Laundering

Kathy Ann Troncoza-Valenzuela, 41, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and Promotional Money Laundering

Nina Francine Troncoza-Celaya, 32, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

Manuel Martin Garcia, 34, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

Manuel Alejandro Alvarez, 35, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

Juan Fonseca-Cantallops, 41, Buckeye
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Conspiracy to Commit Concealment Money Laundering and Concealment Money Laundering

Not arrested, will be summoned to court:

Drusilla Ortiz Troncoza, 61, Tucson
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and Concealment Money Laundering.

Not arrested since she was reported dead:

Anna Graciela Goncalvez-Mendez, 41, Naco
Violations: Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, Concealment Money Laundering, Concealment Money Laundering and Engaging in Monetary Transactions

Possible penalties, if convicted

Charge: maximum penalty

Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 10 years to life, a $4,000,000 fine or both

Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana: 40 years, a $2,000,000 fine or both

Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Conspiracy to Commit Concealment Money Laundering, Promotional Money Laundering, Concealment Money Laundering (each separate charge has same possible penalty): 20 years, a $500,000 fine or two times the value

Engaging in Monetary Transactions: 10 years or a $250,000 fine or two times the value.

In determining an actual sentence, Judge G. Murray Snow will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

[tnipoll]

The credits

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS-Criminal Investigations Division, and included the participation of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Marshal’s Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Border Patrol. The FBI, U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Arizona Department of Public Safety. Local police agencies that assisted include the Mesa, Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe and Tucson Police Departments; the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. The investigation was also made possible by the assistance of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Imperial Police Department, U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Arizona, Nevada and Ohio and various DEA offices throughout the U.S. and in Mexico. The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) provided extensive analysis of documents seized during the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by Karen S. McDonald, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

What do you think?

Would you ever go into business, legal or otherwise, with your own family?

Will you forever remember Wedoito’s Hotdogs?

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About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, life, Police/fire/law, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Tucson family drug bust: Wedoito’s Hotdogs front for marijuana, drug trafficking operation, feds say

  1. $5000000?

    what’s the tax cut on that?  wait.  there isn’t one.

    <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/free.the.leaf”>facebook.com/free.the.leaf</a>

  2. leftfield says:

    “Legalize it, don’t criticize it!”

    Peter Tosh

  3. tiponeill says:

    So the Feds spent 5 YEARS investigating ? What do they have against Free Enterprise and the Small Businessman ?
    Too bad they didn’t spend 5 years investigating Bernie Madoff

  4. Alan in Kent WA says:

    There used to be a restaurant on the SE side that never did any business a long time ago that I always suspected of being a front.

    The big thing used to be marijuana brownies, I never thought of dopey weenies!

  5. andrew farley says:

    Every new Far-log will now have a hollow spot on the bottom so you can “Hide your Weed” and a detachable hose that makes it into a “Far-Hookah-log”. I hope the captcha works this time. “liability pechary”itc

  6. Oakland says:

    Yes I would like a chilly cheese dog and a dime bag please. By the way can I get that to go.

  7. maryjane cokesnorter says:

    After there Father was killed, you would think they would learn there lesson, and GET OUT OFF THE SAME BUSINESS THERE FATHER WAS IN, but stupid is as stupid does…………………’SO THERE DREAMS GO UP IN SMOKE’……………….now you can find Jesus in them 4 walls????????????????

  8. fraser007 says:

    Guess the apple doesnt fall far from the tree!! Hope Leftfield doesnt read this article.LOL

  9. Myra says:

    You guys kickass. AZD’s article sucked! Keep up the good work!

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