A former Oro Valley restaurateur was released from jail last Wednesday, nearly two weeks after his arrest on federal drug charges.
Ollie Shouse, 49, former owner of Torino Ristorante at 10355 N. La Cañada Drive, was arrested June 12 along with five other people in connection with a marijuana trafficking operation, according to federal court documents.
On June 25, Shouse posted a $10,000 bond for his release. The court ordered him to check in to a substance abuse treatment facility pending trial.
Federal investigators say Shouse and the other suspected traffickers have transported as much as 25 tons of marijuana to the East Coast dating to 2001.
Tucson residents Guilio F. Esposito, Michael W. Hamblen, Julia A. Relford and Walter K. Riedesel were also implicated in a federal complaint.
Oro Valley resident Ruben P. Contreras was arrested along with the others on June 12. He was released on a $50,000 bond on June 18.
According to a federal complaint, suspicion first fell on the group in August 2006 when an unnamed source told Drug Enforcement Agency officials that several loads of cash sent from the East Coast to pay for the marijuana had gone missing.
Last October, DEA agents intercepted a $398,375 cash shipment intended for Shouse, according to the complaint.
Agents conducting surveillance saw Shouse and the other suspects at a Tucson-area warehouse. According to the complaint, a semi-truck also was seen at the warehouse and later stopped by Arizona Department of Public Safety officers who found 749 pounds of marijuana on board.
Esposito was identified as the renter of the warehouse, according to the document.
Federal authorities said that when they arrested Shouse he had several “drug ledgers” in his car.
Attorneys for Shouse and Contreras did not return phone calls requesting interviews.
Trial dates have been scheduled for members of the suspected drug-trafficking ring.