Federal law enforcement authorities have implicated a former Oro Valley restaurateur in an extensive drug trafficking syndicate.
Ollie Shouse, former owner of the now-closed Torino Ristorante, 10355 N. La Cañada Drive, was named along with four others in a June 13 criminal complaint.
The complaint, filed in federal court in Tucson, contends Shouse and the others had transported more than 25 tons of marijuana to cities on the East Coast since 2001.
The complaint also names Oro Valley resident Ruben P. Contreras as a partner in the drug distribution ring.
Michael W. Hamblen, Julia A. Relford and Walter K. Riedesel, all of Tucson, are also named in the complaint.
A fifth suspect, Guilio F. Esposito, remains at large.
According to the government’s complaint, federal drug enforcement officials first became suspicious in 2006 when informants told them the suspects had lost shipments of cash for drugs they had sold.
Law enforcement confirmed that numerous loads of money were confiscated dating back to 2002.
One seized shipment, bulk currency sent form an address in New York to Shouse in Tucson, was intercepted by DEA officials in October 2007.
The complaint also alleges that federal authorities found drug ledgers in Shouse’s car when he was arrested June 12.
Court documents say Riedesel admitted to sending as much as 30 tons of marijuana from a Tucson warehouse to East Coast cities since 2001.