A traffic stop in the west suburbs led Cook County Sheriff's police to a multi-million dollar drug bust on Saturday--and police say a statue of Jesus Malverde tipped them off.
As the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Malverde is considered to be the patron saint of the underworld in Mexico. Drug dealers--and even leaders of violent Mexican drug cartels--pray to statues of Malverde, who is also considered the "narco saint."
On Saturday night, Cook County Sheriff's Gang Unit officers spotted a vehicle facing the wrong direction on Maybrook Drive, in the oncoming traffic lane from 1st Avenue, in Maywood, according to a release from sheriff's police. Maybrook Drive is the road that leads to the Cook County Sheriff's Police headquarters.
When officers approached the vehicle, the two men inside "appeared nervous" and the driver did not have a license. That is when officers noticed a statue of Jesus Malverdes placed on the center console, according to the release.
Officers checked out the vehicle's trunk--where they discovered 50 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of $19,350,000.
"Clearly the narco saint doesn't protect everyone," Liane Jackson, a spokeswoman for Sheriff Tom Dart, told the Sun-Times.
Jose Ramirez-Rodriguez, 23, of Wheaton, and Efrain Rodriguez-Juarez, 32, of Carol Stream, were ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail on drug charges.
The Sun-Times explained the history of the narco saint:
Jesus Malverde, a handsome, mustachioed bandit, was hanged in 1909 in Sinaloa, Mexico, legend has it. He became a Robin Hood of sorts and the patron saint for Mexican criminals.
A Chicago Police officer told the Sun-Times that the Malverde statue "definitely raises a flag" to law enforcement.