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Authorities search for Statesville suspect linked to drug cartel

Iredell County sheriff’s investigators have arrested one suspect and are searching for another one in a cocaine and methamphetamine distribution and smuggling ring linked to the Mexican drug cartel, Sheriff Phil Redmond said.

An investigation over several years by the sheriff’s narcotics division and federal Homeland Security agents uncovered a drug smuggling ring controlled by a family who moved to the Statesville area, Redmond said.

Sheriff’s detectives and federal agents conducted undercover drug buys of about 100 grams of cocaine with a street value of about $25,000, Redmond said.

Warrants were issued by an Iredell County magistrate on Juan Carlos Torres Jr. and Monica Renteria, both of Statesville.

Renteria, 25, was arrested and charged with two counts each of trafficking cocaine and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. She is in jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

Torres, 22, is charged with six counts of trafficking cocaine. Anyone who knows where he is should call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3180 or Iredell County Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.

Redmond said several others have been charged in the case across North Carolina.

Marusak: 704-987-3670; Twitter: @jmarusak
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