Final Defendant Sentenced in Operation Frozen Freight
PHOENIX—On June 9, 2014, John Kweku Eshun, 52, of Ellenwood, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow to 41 months in prison. Eshun is the 12th and final defendant sentenced in Operation Frozen Freight—a multi-year investigation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service. On August 10, 2010, 12 defendants were charged with running a conspiracy that used a network of front businesses and warehouses, residences, cars, and semi-tractor trailers to package and ship loads of marijuana from Arizona to Ohio and then to package, ship, or deposit cash proceeds from those sales. Charges in the initial and superseding indictments included multiple counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, money laundering, promotional money laundering, and illegal financial transactions to further the conspiracy. The conspiracy used aliases and false business names such as “Sea of Cortez Seafood & Produce Distribution LLC,” “Wedoito’s Hotdogs, LLC,” “AB Trucking,” and others.
The organization is alleged to have trafficked at least 50,000 pounds of marijuana and one to two tons of cocaine, generating proceeds in excess of $34 million. Federal agents seized approximately $700,000 in assets, including numerous vehicles (including a semi-tractor-trailer), guns, jewelry, and a house in the course of the investigation.
The defendants received the following sentences:
- Jonathan Ortiz Troncoza, 41, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to 120 months in prison.
- David Ortiz Troncoza, 44, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to 70 months in prison.
- John Kweku Eshun, 52, of Ellenwood, Georgia, was sentenced to 41 months in prison.
- Edward Christopher Morales, 43, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to 150 months in prison.
- Shawn Handell Holloway, 43, of Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced to 144 months in prison.
- Manuel Martin Garcia, 37, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to 60 months in prison.
- Robert D. Wilson, 33, of Euklid, Ohio, was sentenced to 24 months in prison.
- Yvonne Teresa Troncoza-Martinez, 40, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to probation.
- Kathy Ann Troncoza-Valenzuela, 43, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to probation.
- Manuel Alejandro Alvarez, 39, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to time served.
- Juan Fonseca-Cantallops, 49, of Buckeye, Arizona, was sentenced to probation.
- Angelica C. Mendivil, 41, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to probation.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service and included the participation of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Border Patrol; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the 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 was handled by Karen S. McDonald and Brian Larson, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.