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The two men charged in a 900-pound marijuana bust from earlier this month appeared in Spencer Circuit Court on Thursday and entered not guilty pleas to all charges.
Hector Montes Serrano, 25, and Gabael Jimenez-Suarez, 22 — both not legal U.S. residents — were arrested following a multi-agency drug bust that uncovered $11,000 of cash and 900 pounds of processed marijuana at a rental property in the 600 block of Hickman Lane in the Highgrove area.
Both Serrano and Jimenez-Suarez were indicted on 43 counts of complicity to traffic in marijuana greater than five pounds while in possession of a firearm, complicity to possess drug paraphernalia while in possession of a firearm and complicity to acquire property/invest with income from trafficking in a controlled substance. Serrano was also indicted on a criminal possession of a forged instrument charge. All the charges are felonies.
Serrano and Jimenez-Suarez appeared one at a time before Judge Charles Hickman on Thursday. Each needed a translator during the court proceedings.
Louisville attorney Jim Earhart appeared with both men, but said he was standing in for attorney Alex Fleming, also of Louisville, in the case of Jimenez-Suarez.
According to his website, Earhart has defended several high-profile cases, including the criminal charges brought against Karen Cunagin Sypher in 2010.
Commonwealth Attorney Laura Donnell said her office is preparing discovery in the case and that she planned to have an informal pretrial conference with the men’s attorneys.
A disposition hearing was scheduled for Dec. 19 at 9 a.m. in each case.
Earhart told Hickman he would like to discuss the bond for the men at that time, noting that he though Jimenez-Suarez currently also had an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold on him.