Shrines to drug trafficking 'saints' found during meth bust in Phoenix, police say

Police in Arizona said they found shrines to the "saints of drug trafficking" during a methamphetamine bust at a Phoenix apartment.

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Phoenix police raided a west Phoenix apartment Aug. 9 after seeing a silver-colored Ford Escape with an Idaho license plate, registered to a man later identified as Fermin De Lora Batista, according to Maricopa County court records.

Batista, 50, was among several people who got out of the vehicle and entered the apartment, KNXV reported.

Detectives said that upon entering the apartment and permitted to search it, they found "empty kilo-sized drug packages" with "10,000' written on them, along with a packet of cash, the television station reported.

Police said they also found a shrine dedicated to Santa Muerte, Mexico's folk hero of death; and a statue of San Simon, KNXV reported. San Simon is also known as Maximón, "a mischievous folk saint," according to National Geographic.

According to Maricopa County court records, "These saints are worshipped for protection from law enforcement and protection from rivals."

After obtaining a search warrant, police said they found 25 bundles of meth inside a door of Batista's vehicle, KNXV reported. Another six packages were found in a wheel well and 13 more inside the tailgate, the television station reported.

Batista has been charged with narcotics possession for sale.

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