Drug Kingpin Sentenced To Life In Prison

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A major central Ohio drug dealer was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday in a marijuana trafficking operation that spread the drug throughout the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Agency said Rafael Hernandez-Carillo was arrested and convicted despite a bizarre religious ritual that was designed to keep law enforcement at bay, CrimeTracker 10's Angela An reported.

Hernandez-Carillo was the link between Mexican drug cartels and central Ohio, investigators said.

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"A regular working mope does not bring in 44,000 pounds, does not make $10 million a year," said DEA Special Agent Tony Marotta.

Prosecutors said that Hernandez-Carillo built special ventilation in his home to circulate incense from a shrine honoring Santa Muerta, a popular patron saint of crime for Mexican drug lords.

"They think by having these shrines, candles and pictures and animal sacrifices in these saints name, they feel this is going to protect them from law enforcement," Marotta said.

A home near Sawmill Road served as one of several distribution points. Agents said marijuana was trafficked to Dayton, Mansfield, Detroit and Atlanta, An reported.

Cash and $3-million worth of jewelry was seized after agents raided Hernandez-Carillo's homes.

Investigators tracked the marijuana to Ohio via Mexico and Arizona and the women Hernandez-Carillo hired to drive the money back to Mexico.

The drugs were smuggled inside hidden compartments and tires.

"They just fill it with cash and put air in the tire," Marotta said. "You have a very expensive tire."

Hernandez-Carillo's attorney said he will appeal the life sentence, but is asking for a transfer to an Arizona prison, so his family in Mexico can visit more often.

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