Deputies find shrine during drug raid in Franklin County

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Sheriff's deputies arrested a man they say had eight pounds of marijuana on him, along with $7,000 in cash. They say he also had a shrine to "patron saint" of drug dealers in his home.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton says a tip led them to investigate 23-year-old Rafael Martinez. They arrested him Monday at his apartment on John Davis Drive.

They say when they arrived he was carrying a tub with seven tightly packaged bundles of marijuana to his car. They took Martinez and his girlfriend, Sereh Villegas, into custody charging them both with trafficking in marijuana more than five pounds.

"The timing was opportune, it went flawless," said Melton.

Prior to the arrest the Franklin County Sheriff Office's investigation revealed that Martinez had been convicted of cultivating 100 pounds of marijuana in California in 2009 .

"At that time he had an AK-47 and pistol on him," Melton said.

Which led them to take precautions during Monday's arrest.

"We had intentionally set up a way to get him outside the residence," Melton said. "We didn't want to take a chance on going in with a search warrant and him with a gun."

Sheriff Melton says along with the marijuana and money they also found a shrine inside Martinez's home to the "patron saint" of drug dealers, Jesus Malverde

"Picture candles, all that stuff."

Police took the shrine to Jesus Malverde as evidence.

"Mexican law enforcement officials, they look for Jesus Malverde for the drug traffickers down there, it's one of the clues," Melton said.

Melton says it's likely Martinez will face federal charges. He was deported after his California conviction, and coming back into the country is a federal offense.

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