2 Exeter men arrested in drug bust

Two Exeter men and 13 others were arrested in a major drug bust on May 27 at a hotel off Highway 99 just north of Tulare.

Alberto Maetas Molina, 35, and Julio Molina Lopes Jr., 26, both of Exeter were arrested at the Friendship Inn, located near Avenue 264 and Highway 99, behind Tagus Ranch. Both men were charged with possession of one ounce of methamphetamine, possession with intent to sell, drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, and for possession of two pounds of red phosphorus used to make the drug. Molina is being held on $50,000 bail. Lopes, who was also in violation of parole for a previous drug trafficking charge, was sent back to prison.

The operation started at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26 and ended at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 27. In all, police found drugs and arrested 13 people in four rooms and two others who drove up to the motel. Police are unsure if the individuals in the rooms were related cases. Police confiscated $21,998 in cash, 2.5 pounds of meth, 12 ounces of meth in solution, 10 grams of cocaine, 8 grams of rock cocaine and 7 grams of heroin.

The Tulare County Narcotics Task Force came across the drug bust by accident.

Deputies were actually looking for Jonathan Craig Singleton, 34, who was wanted in Kings County for assault with a deadly weapon. Singleton was also arrested in the drug bust.

Deputies became suspicious when two men drove a 1999 Mazda 626 near the room where Singleton was staying. When the two were contacted by deputies they were found to be in possession of a loaded .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol, 7.6 grams of methamphetamine and $7,880 in cash.

The case is still under investigation by the Tulare County Narcotic Task Force.

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