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Father of two accused in cocaine operation arrested

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY – The father of two men accused of heading a large cocaine operation in Rowan County has been arrested.
Rowan deputies took Juan Molina Serrano, of Chesapeake Drive, into custody Thursday. Serrano’s sons, Juan and Jorge Molina-Sanchez, are both facing federal time following a 18-month investigation.
Investigators said Serrano was arrested after he bought 33 grams, or 1.16 ounces, of cocaine from an undercover officer. He was charged with three counts of felony trafficking cocaine and one count of felony conspiring to traffic in cocaine.
Serrano, an undocumented immigrant, was initially placed under a $500,000 bond, but has since been placed under a detainer by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department.
Investigators have been aware of Serrano since he visited a home on Cauble Stout Road in Salisbury nearly a year ago. Detectives raided the residence shortly after and arrested Joel Alejandres Santibanez. Santibanez has since been accused of assisting in the operation.
He was charged on several felony drug trafficking charges and remains in Rowan County jail under a $1 million bond.
The Cauble Stout Road home was one of several owned by or affiliated with Serrano’s son, Juan Molina-Sanchez.
Juan Molina-Sanchez fled North Carolina after Santibanez’ arrest, but was tracked down and arrested in Las Vegas.
Deputies are continuing to search for Jose Luis Molina, a cousin of Juan Molina-Sanchez. Juan Molina-Sanchez left Jose Molina and Juan’s brother, Jorge Molina-Sanchez, in control of the drug operation when he left North Carolina in 2011, according to court files.
Jorge Molina-Sanchez was arrested Oct. 11 at an apartment complex off North Sharon Amity Road near Eastland Mall in Charlotte.
Juan Molina-Sanchez has pleaded guilty in federal court to bringing in more than 50 kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin into Rowan County.
Check Saturday’s Salisbury Post for more information.

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