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Plea agreement offered to two men charged in huge pot bust

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Couple gets probation in separate marijuana case

By Shannon Brock

A plea agreement has been extended to two men charged in a 900-pound marijuana bust last month, their attorneys said in Spencer Circuit Court on Thursday.
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, one count of complicity to possess drug paraphernalia while in possession of a firearm and one count of 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, represented by Louisville attorney Jim Earhart, and Jimenez-Suarez, represented by Louisville attorney Alex Fleming, each entered not guilty pleas late last month.
Thursday, Fleming told Judge Charles Hickman that an offer had been made by Commonwealth’s Attorney Laura Donnell’s office, but said he and Earhart would like a chance to go over discovery in the case — which each attorney received Thursday — as well as the offer with their clients.
The case was continued to Jan. 23, 2014, at 9 a.m.
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Two Spencer County residents were sentenced to seven years in prison, which will be probated for five years, in a separate marijuana case from August 2012.
Kenneth Baumgardner, 53, and Amanda Baumgardner, 49, both of Binkley Lane in Bloomfield, entered guilty pleas earlier this year.
Each was sentenced to five years for cultivating marijuana with intent to sell while in possession of a firearm; two years for first-degree illegal possession of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm; 90 days and $100 fine for illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia while in possession of a firearm; and 90 days $100 fine for illegal possession of a controlled substance.
The five- and two-year sentences would run consecutively, but are probated for a period of five years.
Each was also assessed $155 in court costs. Five thousand dollars is also owed to Kentucky State Police.