Sheriff’s officials said a man arrested for his alleged marijuana trafficking in Frankfort isn’t legally allowed to be in the United States.
Rafael Martinez, 22, and Serah Villegas, 21, are being held in the Franklin County Regional Jail on a $10,000 full cash bond. Both are charged with trafficking more than 5 pounds of marijuana.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office centered a drug investigation around 8000 John Davis Drive, Apt. 307, after officials received a tip about possible trafficking inside that apartment.
“The tip said there was a hub operating out of that residence,” Sheriff Pat Melton said.
After further investigation, Melton said they identified Martinez — with former addresses in Yakima, Wash., and Michoacan, Mexico.
Martinez was convicted in 2009, Melton said, after he was found in California with more than 100 pounds of marijuana, an AK-47 and a handgun. After serving time in prison, he was deported.
“Obviously officer safety was a concern,” Melton said of Martinez’ arrest. “… So we used extreme caution.”
Martinez was taken into custody without incident Monday as he was walking out of the apartment. Melton said he was trying to load a plastic tote container into a rental vehicle.
Inside the tote, deputies allegedly found more than 8 pounds of marijuana — with a street value around $16,000.
They also said they found more than $7,000 in cash, mostly on Martinez himself.
Inside the apartment, Melton said deputies found a shrine to Jesus Malverde, the unofficial saint of drug traffickers in Mexican folklore. This is common to see among Latino drug dealers, Melton said.
“That’s who’s supposed to protect them and bring them wealth,” Melton said. “… It’s just another step in the investigation that confirms what he was doing.”
Villegas was also inside the apartment, but Melton declined to comment on her involvement in the drug trafficking.
Melton said his office is currently working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As a deported felon, Martinez could face parole violation charges in California, plus new charges for entering the country illegally after his deportation.