Two years ago I wrote a feature about the patron saint of narcotics, Jesus Malverde, and how cops in East Portland were treating Malverde's presence in homes as a sign of possible drug activity. At the time, the phenomenon was just emerging, but now it seems a Malverde icon is being cited by police and prosecuting attorneys as a legal basis for developing probable cause.
Malverde reared his head yesterday in a verdict from the court of appeals:
Passadore noticed, suspended from defendant's rearview mirror, what he recognized as a so-called "Jesus Malverde" medallion, which, based on his training and experience, he believed was "a cultural icon specifically related to narcotics trafficking in the Hispanic community."
The appeals court ruled against the appellant over suppression of evidence, although not solely related to the icon.