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Area police seized nearly a half ton of marijuana and more than $11,000 in cash Monday night when officers busted a “stash house” in Taylorsville near the Nelson-Spencer county line.
Hector M. Serrano, 25, and Gabael S. Suarez, 22, each face a charge of trafficking in marijuana more than 5 pounds in connection to the bust. Police believe they entered the country illegally.
During a news conference Tuesday in Elizabethtown, officials said the seizure was a joint effort between Kentucky State Police Post 4, Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force and Louisville Metro Police Department.
Jeff Gregory, spokesman for KSP Post 4, said LMPD’s narcotics department initiated the bust when Louisville officers relayed a tip Monday to the task force concerning a possible stash house at 697 Hickman Ave. in Spencer County. The task force in turn contacted Post 4 for assistance.
Around 6 p.m. Monday, officers from multiple agencies executed a search warrant at the residence, which is a rental property, he said. Gregory did not know under whose name the property is rented and said the investigation is ongoing.
Officers ultimately seized approximately 900 pounds of marijuana, which typically is sold by the ounce on the streets, according to police.
“We don’t generally deal with this much quantity in one spot,” Gregory said.
The product was tightly packaged into 43 bricks and wrapped in plastic. The bricks — which were about 19 inches long and 12 inches wide — were stored throughout the house, he said.
According to Gregory, this style of packaging is referred to as “Mexican compressed marijuana” and police suspect the product was imported from South America.
Police estimate the street value of the seized marijuana at $630,000.
“It’s one of the larger licks we’ve gotten in quite some time in this area,” Gregory said, “so we’re real proud of that.”
“Any time you get 900 pounds, you have to consider it a pretty good catch,” he said later.
As officers approached the house, one of the suspects attempted to flee, Gregory said. State police, Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and Bardstown police provided K-9 support, and the man ultimately was tracked and arrested without incident, according to Gregory.
In addition to the marijuana, police located a rifle and more than $11,000 in cash at the house.
Though police suspect the location was a stash house, Gregory said officers believe the men also distributed from there.
Serrano and Suarez are lodged at Shelby County Detention Center. According to jail officials, both men are under immigration detainers and their bonds had not been set as of Tuesday afternoon.
Their charges are gun enhanced, according to police, meaning Serrano and Suarez face Class B felonies. According to Kentucky Revised Statutes, they could face 10 to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.